Targeting mitochondrial reactive oxygen species as novel therapy for inflammatory diseases and cancers

J Hematol Oncol. 2013 Feb 25;6:19. doi: 10.1186/1756-8722-6-19.


There are multiple sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the cell. As a major site of ROS production, mitochondria have drawn considerable interest because it was recently discovered that mitochondrial ROS (mtROS) directly stimulate the production of proinflammatory cytokines and pathological conditions as diverse as malignancies, autoimmune diseases, and cardiovascular diseases all share common phenotype of increased mtROS production above basal levels. Several excellent reviews on this topic have been published, but ever-changing new discoveries mandated a more up-to-date and comprehensive review on this topic. Therefore, we update recent understanding of how mitochondria generate and regulate the production of mtROS and the function of mtROS both in physiological and pathological conditions. In addition, we describe newly developed methods to probe or scavenge mtROS and compare these methods in detail. Thorough understanding of this topic and the application of mtROS-targeting drugs in the research is significant towards development of better therapies to combat inflammatory diseases and inflammatory malignancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species