Trace elements as an activator of antioxidant enzymes

Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2016 Dec 31;70(0):1483-1498. doi: 10.5604/17322693.1229074.


Oxidative stress is a state of impaired balance between the formation of free radicals and antioxidant capacity of the body. It causes many defects of the body, e.g. lipid peroxidation, DNA and protein damage. In order to prevent the effects of oxidative stress, the organism has developed defence mechanisms. These mechanisms capture and inhibit the formation of free radicals and also chelate ion metals that catalyse free radical reactions. Trace elements are components of antioxidant enzymes involved in antioxidant mechanisms. Selenium, as a selenocysteine, is a component of the active site of glutathione peroxidase (GPx). The main function of GPx is neutralization of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and organic peroxide (LOOH). Furthermore, selenium is a structural part of a large group of selenoproteins that are necessary for proper functioning of the body. Manganese, copper and zinc are a part of the group of superoxide dismutase enzymes (MnSOD, Cu/ZnSOD), which catalyse the superoxide anion dismutation into hydrogen peroxide and oxygen. Formed hydrogen peroxide is decomposed into water and oxygen by catalase or glutathione peroxidase. An integral component of catalase (CAT) is iron ions. The concentration of these trace elements has a significant influence on the activity of antioxidant enzymes, and thus on defence against oxidative stress. Even a small change in the level of trace elements in the tissue causes a disturbance in their metabolism, leading to the occurrence of many diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catalase / metabolism*
  • Coenzymes / metabolism*
  • Copper
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism*
  • Manganese
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Selenium
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism*
  • Trace Elements / metabolism*
  • Zinc


  • Coenzymes
  • Free Radicals
  • Trace Elements
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • superoxide dismutase 2
  • Selenium
  • Zinc