Oxygen Radicals and Vascular Damage

  • H. A. Kontos
  • M. L. Hess
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 161)


The effects of topical application of agents which produce oxygen radicals on cerebral arterioles were studied in anesthetized cats. Xanthine oxidase plus xanthine, which produced superoxide anion radical, hydrogen peroxide, and hydrogen peroxide plus ferrous sulfate, which produced the free hydroxyl radical, induced sustained dilation, reduced responsiveness to the vasoconstrictor effect of hypocapnia, and destructive lesions of the endothelium and of the vascular smooth muscle. Similar effects were produced by arachidonate, 15-HPETE, and PGG2. The effect of arachidonate was inhibited by mannitol, a free hyaroxyl radical scavenger, the effect of PGG2 was inhibited by SOD, the effect of 15-HPETE was inhibited by either catalase or SOD. These results suggest that these cerebral vascular abnormalities were produced by a single destructive free radical, probably the hydroxyl free radical, generated via interaction of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. Cerebral vascular abnormalities similar to those produced by oxygen radicals were also seen after experimental concussive brain injury or after acute hypertension. After brain injury, activation of phospholipase C and increased brain prostaglandin concentration were demonstrated. The vascular effects of brain injury and acute hypertension were inhibited by free radical scavengers. The results suggest that, in these conditions, vascular damage is induced by oxygen radicals generated from arachidonate in association with increased prostaglandin synthesis.


Vascular Smooth Muscle Oxygen Radical Xanthine Oxidase Ferrous Sulfate Vascular Damage 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. A. Kontos
    • 1
  • M. L. Hess
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineMedical College of VirginiaRichmondUSA

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