Antioxidants Reduce Consequences of Radiation Exposure

  • Paul Okunieff
  • Steven Swarts
  • Peter Keng
  • Weimin Sun
  • Wei Wang
  • Jung Kim
  • Shanmin Yang
  • Hengshan Zhang
  • Chaomei Liu
  • Jacqueline P. Williams
  • Amy K. Huser
  • Lurong Zhang
Part of the Advances In Experimental Medicine And Biology book series (AEMB, volume 614)


Antioxidants have been studied for their capacity to reduce the cytotoxic effects of radiation in normal tissues for at least 50 years. Early research identified sulfur-containing antioxidants as those with the most beneficial therapeutic ratio, even though these compounds have substantial toxicity when given in-vivo. Other antioxidant molecules (small molecules and enzymatic) have been studied for their capacity to prevent radiation toxicity both with regard to reduction of radiation-related cytotoxicity and for reduction of indirect radiation effects including long-term oxidative damage. Finally, categories of radiation protectors that are not primarily antioxidants, including those that act through acceleration of cell proliferation (e.g. growth factors), prevention of apoptosis, other cellular signaling effects (e.g. cytokine signal modifiers), or augmentation of DNA repair, all have direct or indirect effects on cellular redox state and levels of endogenous antioxidants. In this review we discuss what is known about the radioprotective properties of antioxidants, and what those properties tell us about the DNA and other cellular targets of radiation.


Base Excision Repair Human Microvascular Endothelial Cell Radioprotective Effect Chronic Oxidative Stress Unirradiated Control 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Okunieff
    • 1
  • Steven Swarts
    • 1
  • Peter Keng
    • 1
  • Weimin Sun
    • 1
  • Wei Wang
    • 1
  • Jung Kim
    • 1
  • Shanmin Yang
    • 1
  • Hengshan Zhang
    • 1
  • Chaomei Liu
    • 1
  • Jacqueline P. Williams
    • 1
  • Amy K. Huser
    • 1
  • Lurong Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of Rochester Medical CenterRochester

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