Nox enzymes and new thinking on reactive oxygen: a double-edged sword revisited

Annu Rev Pathol. 2014;9:119-45. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-012513-104651. Epub 2013 Sep 13.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are a chemical class of molecules that have generally been conceptualized as deleterious entities, albeit ones whose destructive properties could be harnessed as antimicrobial effector functions to benefit the whole organism. This appealingly simplistic notion has been turned on its head in recent years with the discovery of the NADPH oxidases, or Noxes, a family of enzymes dedicated to the production of ROS in a variety of cells and tissues. The Nox-dependent, physiological generation of ROS is highly conserved across virtually all multicellular life, often as a generalized response to microbes and/or other exogenous stressors. This review discusses the current knowledge of the role of physiologically generated ROS and the enzymes that form them in both normal biology and disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • NADPH Oxidases