Hormones and oxidative stress: an overview

Free Radic Res. 2020 Jan;54(1):1-26. doi: 10.1080/10715762.2019.1702656. Epub 2019 Dec 22.


In aerobes, oxygen is essential for maintenance of life. However, incomplete reduction of oxygen leads to generation of reactive oxygen species. These oxidants oxidise biological macromolecules present in their vicinity and thereby impair cellular functions causing oxidative stress (OS). Aerobes have evolved both enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidant defences to protect themselves from OS. Although hormones as means of biological coordination involve in regulation of physiological activities of tissues by regulating metabolism, any change in their normal titre leads to pathophysiological states. While, hormones such as melatonin, insulin, oestrogen, progesterone display antioxidant features, thyroid hormone, corticosteroids and catecholamines elicit free radical generation and OS, and the role of testosterone in inducing OS is debateable. This review is an attempt to understand the impact of free radical generation and cross talk between the hormones modulating antioxidant defence system under various pathophysiological conditions.

Keywords: Antioxidants; free radicals; hormones; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hormones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*


  • Hormones
  • Reactive Oxygen Species