The protective role of antioxidants in the defence against ROS/RNS-mediated environmental pollution

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2014;2014:671539. doi: 10.1155/2014/671539. Epub 2014 Jul 20.

Abstract

Overproduction of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species can result from exposure to environmental pollutants, such as ionising and nonionising radiation, ultraviolet radiation, elevated concentrations of ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, cigarette smoke, asbestos, particulate matter, pesticides, dioxins and furans, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and many other compounds present in the environment. It appears that increased oxidative/nitrosative stress is often neglected mechanism by which environmental pollutants affect human health. Oxidation of and oxidative damage to cellular components and biomolecules have been suggested to be involved in the aetiology of several chronic diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and aging. Several studies have demonstrated that the human body can alleviate oxidative stress using exogenous antioxidants. However, not all dietary antioxidant supplements display protective effects, for example, β-carotene for lung cancer prevention in smokers or tocopherols for photooxidative stress. In this review, we explore the increases in oxidative stress caused by exposure to environmental pollutants and the protective effects of antioxidants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Pesticides / chemistry
  • Pesticides / toxicity
  • Radiation
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*

Substances

  • Antioxidants
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Pesticides
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species
  • Reactive Oxygen Species