Biochemical aspects of free radicals

Biochem Cell Biol. Jul-Aug 1990;68(7-8):989-98. doi: 10.1139/o90-146.


Toxic free radicals can be produced by many reactions required for the maintenance of normal metabolism and the production of energy in the cell. The reactivity of both primary and secondary radicals with biomolecules and in whole tissue systems is of interest, not only because of their importance in radiobiology but also because of the role these species play in toxicity and various disorders. Oxidant stress is known to increase the production of free radicals. In the presence of metals, especially iron, these radicals are converted into more damaging species. Trace elements play an important role in many systems that have evolved to deal with free radicals. The dietary status of the cell can affect the preventative antioxidant constituents of the cell. The chain-breaking antioxidant status can clearly be influenced by the dietary content of substances such as vitamins E and C.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Disease / etiology
  • Free Radicals*
  • Humans
  • Metals / metabolism
  • Models, Chemical
  • Oxidation-Reduction


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radicals
  • Metals