[Biological consequences of oxidative stress induced by pesticides]

Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2011 Jun 17;65:357-66. doi: 10.5604/17322693.948816.
[Article in Polish]


Pesticides are used to protect plants and numerous plant products. They are also utilized in several industrial branches. These compounds are highly toxic to living organisms. In spite of close supervision in the use of pesticides there is a serious risk that these agents are able to spread into the environment and contaminate water, soil, food, and feedstuffs. Recently, more and more studies have been focused on understanding the toxic mechanisms of pesticide actions. The data indicate that the toxic action of pesticides may include the induction of oxidative stress and accumulation of free radicals in the cell. Long-lasting or acute oxidative stress disturbs cell metabolism and is able to produce permanent changes in the structure of proteins, lipids, and DNA. The proteins that are oxidized may lose or enhance their activity. Moreover, the proteins oxidized are able to form aggregates that inhibit the systems responsible for protein degradation and lead to alterations of proteins in the cell. Once oxidized, lipids have the capacity to damage and depolarize cytoplasmic membranes. Free oxygen radicals are harmful to DNA including damage to single nitric bases, DNA strand breaks and adduct production. Many studies indicate that oxidative stress may accelerate development of numerous diseases including cancer and neurodegenerative ones such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and may also be responsible for infertility.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Free Radicals
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*


  • Free Radicals
  • Pesticides