• free radicals, antioxidants;
  • reactive-oxygen species;
  • periodontitis;
  • thiols;
  • neutrophils;
  • glutathione;
  • NF-κB;
  • review


This paper aims to review the role of free radical-induced tissue damage and antioxidant defence mechanisms in inflammatory diseases that involve pathogenic processes similar to the periodontal diseases. There is a clearly defined and substantial role for free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) in periodontitis. but little research has been performed in this area. This paper reviews the considerable data available relating ROS activity and antioxidant deference to inflammatory diseases and attempts to draw parallels with periodontitis. in an effort to stimulate more periodontal research in this important area. The recent discovery of the transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) is reviewed and several potential pathways for cytokine-induced periodontal tissue damage, mediated by NF-κB, are discussed. Emphasis is placed on cytokines that have been studied in periodontitis. principally TNF-α IL-I, IL-6. IL-8 and β-interferon. The link between cellular production of such important mediators of inflammation and the antioxidant (AO) thiols. cysteine and reduced glutathione (GSH), is discussed and it is hypothesised that NF-κB antagonists may offer important therapeutic benefits.