Measurement and Clinical Significance of Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress in Humans

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017:2017:6501046. doi: 10.1155/2017/6501046. Epub 2017 Jun 18.


Oxidative stress is the result of the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation and enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants. Biomarkers of oxidative stress are relevant in the evaluation of the disease status and of the health-enhancing effects of antioxidants. We aim to discuss the major methodological bias of methods used for the evaluation of oxidative stress in humans. There is a lack of consensus concerning the validation, standardization, and reproducibility of methods for the measurement of the following: (1) ROS in leukocytes and platelets by flow cytometry, (2) markers based on ROS-induced modifications of lipids, DNA, and proteins, (3) enzymatic players of redox status, and (4) total antioxidant capacity of human body fluids. It has been suggested that the bias of each method could be overcome by using indexes of oxidative stress that include more than one marker. However, the choice of the markers considered in the global index should be dictated by the aim of the study and its design, as well as by the clinical relevance in the selected subjects. In conclusion, the clinical significance of biomarkers of oxidative stress in humans must come from a critical analysis of the markers that should give an overall index of redox status in particular conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Reactive Oxygen Species