Free radicals and phagocytic cells

FASEB J. 1995 Feb;9(2):200-9. doi: 10.1096/fasebj.9.2.7540156.


Phagocytes mediate their innate immunological response by releasing products that damage invading microorganisms. These products include proteins such as lysozyme, peroxidases, and elastase as well as reactive oxygen species such as superoxide, hydrogen peroxide, hypohalous acid, and hydroxyl radical. Although it is clear that many phagocytic secretory products have direct cytotoxic potential, understanding is limited of how multiple products interact to generate and modulate the cytotoxic response. This review focuses on recent findings that elucidate the biochemical nature of secretory product interaction in the formation of free radicals, particularly the highly reactive hydroxyl radical. The possible role of these reactions in phagocyte microbicidal activity and inflammatory tissue injury is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Catalysis
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyl Radical / metabolism*
  • Inflammation
  • Leukocytes / physiology
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phagocytes / physiology*
  • Phagocytosis


  • Free Radicals
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Hydroxyl Radical
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases
  • NADPH Oxidases