Reactive oxygen species and antioxidant vitamins: mechanisms of action

Am J Med. 1994 Sep 26;97(3A):5S-13S; discussion 22S-28S. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(94)90292-5.


This article is a brief overview of the mechanisms of production of reactive oxygen species in biologic systems, and the various antioxidant defense systems that provide protection against oxidative damage to biologic macromolecules. The mechanisms of lipid peroxidation and antioxidant protection are explained using a specific example, viz., oxidative modification of human low density lipoprotein and its prevention by vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / drug effects
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology
  • Vitamins / pharmacology*
  • beta Carotene


  • Antioxidants
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Vitamins
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin E
  • Carotenoids
  • Ascorbic Acid