- Top of page
- Reactive oxygen metabolites
- Biochemistry and characteristics
- Oxidative damage
- Cellular targets of oxidative attack
- Reactive oxygen metabolites as immunomodulators
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Evidence of increased reactive oxygen metabolite levels in inflammatory bowel disease
- Evidence of oxidative damage in inflammatory bowel disease
- Antioxidant defences
- Non-enzymatic antioxidants
- Antioxidant enzymes
- Regulation of antioxidant enzyme expression
- Antioxidant enzyme levels in inflammatory bowel disease
- Antioxidant therapy: the radical solution?
Virtually all inflammatory mediators investigated to date seem to be dysregulated in the inflamed intestinal mucosa of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. However, which of these are actually involved in the initiation and perpetuation of intestinal tissue damage is still not fully understood. Amongst these mediators are the reactive oxygen metabolites, produced in large amounts by the massively infiltrating leucocytes. These reactive oxygen metabolites are believed to constitute a major tissue-destructive force and may contribute significantly to the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease.
This paper provides a concise overview of reactive oxygen metabolite biochemistry, the types of cell and tissue damage potentially inflicted by them, and the endogenous antioxidants which should prevent these harmful effects. An up-to-date summary of the available human experimental data suggests that reactive oxygen metabolite-mediated injury is important in both the primary and downstream secondary pathophysiological mechanisms underlying intestinal inflammation. Nonetheless, how the individual components of the mucosal antioxidant enzymatic cascade respond to inflammatory conditions is a neglected area of research. This particular aspect of intestinal mucosal oxidative stress therefore merits further study, in order to provide a sound, scientific basis for the design of antioxidant-directed treatment strategies for inflammatory bowel disease patients.