Oxidative Stress in Autoimmune Diseases: An Under Dealt Malice

Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2020;21(6):611-621. doi: 10.2174/1389203721666200214111816.


Oxidative stress is the off-balance of antioxidants and free radicals. All kinds of diseases and disorders give rise to oxidative damage including autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disorder is a pathological condition characterized by the breakdown of self-tolerance of the immune system in the body. Immunological processes against tissues and organs lead to enhanced oxidative stress and, in turn, misbalance of oxidative stress aggravates the pathobiology of the disease. Highly reactive nature of free radicals, for example hydroxyl and superoxide ions, alters DNA, protein, and lipids in the body which augment the pathologic processes of diseases. The damaged biomolecules are responsible for systemic complications and secondary disease co-morbidities. In this review, we discuss the role of oxidative stress in some incapacitating autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Type 1 Diabetes, and Multiple Sclerosis. Oxidative stress plays a central and course defining role in these diseases and it has become a necessity to study the pathological mechanism involved in oxidative stress to better understand and offer treatment holistically. Presently there are no clinically available parameters for measurement and treatment of pathological oxidative stress, therefore it requires intensive research. Probably, in the future, the discovery of easily detectable markers of oxidative stress can aid in the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of progressively destructive autoimmune diseases.

Keywords: Autoimmune diseases; multiple sclerosis; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species; rheumatoid arthritis; systemic lupus erythematosus; type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Autoantibodies / biosynthesis
  • Autoimmunity / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • HLA Antigens / genetics
  • HLA Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / genetics
  • Lipid Peroxidation / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / genetics
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / metabolism
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / pathology
  • Malondialdehyde / immunology
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Multiple Sclerosis / genetics
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology
  • Oxidative Stress / genetics
  • Oxidative Stress / immunology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / immunology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Receptors, Fc / genetics
  • Receptors, Fc / immunology


  • Autoantibodies
  • HLA Antigens
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Receptors, Fc
  • Malondialdehyde