[The role of reactive oxygen species and mitochondria in aging]

Postepy Biochem. 2014;60(2):240-7.
[Article in Polish]


Aging is a biological phenomenon concerning all living multicellular organisms. Many studies have been conducted to identify the mechanisms underlying this process. To date, multiple theories have been proposed to explain the causes of aging. One of them is the free radical theory which postulates that reactive oxygen species (ROS), extremely reactive chemical molecules, are the major cause of the aging process. These free radicals are mainly produced by the mitochondrial respiratory chain as a result of electron transport and the reduction of the oxygen molecule. Toxic effects of ROS on cellular components lead to accumulation of oxidative damage which causes cellular dysfunction with age. The free radical theory has been one of the most popular theories of aging for many years. Scientific research on different model organisms aiming to verify the theory has produced abundant data, supporting the theory or, on the contrary, suggesting strong evidence against it. At present, the free radical theory of aging is no longer considered to be true.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / metabolism
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Free Radicals
  • Reactive Oxygen Species