Encyclopedia of Biophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Gordon Roberts, Anthony Watts, European Biophysical Societies

Oxidative Stress

  • Douglas D. ThomasEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_48-1



Oxidative stress (OS) is a general term used to describe an imbalance in the relative levels of prooxidants and antioxidants in which the levels of prooxidants are in excess.

General Overview

Under conditions of normal physiologic homeostasis, the production of prooxidants is kept in balance by equal or excess amounts of antioxidants. A state of oxidative stress occurs when this balance is perturbed in favor of excess prooxidants. An antioxidant is any molecule that delays, prevents, or removes oxidative damage to a target molecule. They are usually present in low concentrations compared to the amount of oxidizable substrates. Prooxidants are substances that generate oxidants or inhibit antioxidant systems. Oxidants are molecules that gain electrons in redox chemical reactions and promote the oxidation of target molecules. Biological oxidants relevant to oxidative stress are “Reactive Oxygen Species(ROS),”...

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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicinal Chemistry and PharmacognosyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA