National Research Laboratory, College of Pharmacy, Seoul, National University,
Seoul, South Korea
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are constantly generated in human body. Enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants detoxify ROS and minimize damage to biomolecules. An imbalance between the production of ROS and cellular antioxidant capacity leads to a state of "oxidative stress'' that contributes to the pathogenesis of a vast variety of clinical abnormalities (1-3). The susceptibility of the target organs or cells to oxidative injury depends largely on their capability to control protective ROS scavenging systems. The primary endogenous antioxidants are present normally at low levels in human tissues and are not timely induced when exposed to oxidative
stress. However, the response of certain antioxidant enzymes, constituting the critical primary defense against exogenous oxidative stress, occurs rapidly in proportion to oxidant insult. This chapter focuses on molecular aspects of adaptive cytopro-tection in response to oxidative stress.
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