High O(2) consumption, modest antioxidant defenses and a lipid-rich constitution make the brain highly vulnerable to redox imbalances. Oxidative damage in the brain causes nervous system impairment. Recently, oxidative stress has also been implicated in depression, anxiety disorders and high anxiety levels. The findings which establish a link between oxidative stress and pathological anxiety have inspired a number of other recent studies focusing on the link between oxidative status and normal anxiety and also on a possible causal relationship between cellular oxidative stress and emotional stress. This review examines the recent discoveries made on the link between oxidative status and normal anxiety levels and the putative role of oxidative stress in genesis of anxiety. We discuss the different opinions and questions that exist in the field and review the methodological approaches that are being used to determine a causal relationship between oxidative and emotional stress.
Keywords: antioxidants; anxiety; behavior; oxidative status; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species.