Ecotoxicology of Environmental Heavy Metal Ions and Free Radicals on Macromolecule Cell Organisms

  • Loutfy H. MadkourEmail author
Part of the Nanomedicine and Nanotoxicology book series (NANOMED)


Manufacturing and industrial facilities are often guilty of releasing toxic metals into the environment. The role of free radicals in normal cellular functions and different pathological conditions has been a focus of pharmacological studies in the recent past. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and free radicals in general are essential for cell signaling and other vital physiological functions; however, excessive amounts can cause alteration in cellular reduction–oxidation (redox) balance and disrupt normal biological functions. When there is an imbalance between activities of ROS and antioxidant/scavenging defense systems, oxidative stress (OS) occurs. Protein synthesis can be disturbed at many levels of toxic metals at a variety of mechanisms either by affecting the nucleic acid metabolism of structure or in the protein-forming system itself. Correlation between environmental exposures and nutritional status is complex. Thirty-five metals pose a threat to human health, 23 of which are heavy metals. Among the heavy metals As, Cd, Pb, Cr, Fe, Cu, Hg, and Ni are of major concern, can induce generation of reactive radicals, and cause cellular damage via depletion of enzyme activities through lipid peroxidation and reaction with nuclear proteins and DNA. As and Cd are classified as human carcinogens. Heavy metals and their risk role on organisms of biological systems have been discussed.


Free radicals Xenobiotic metals Chronic toxicities Ecotoxicology 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physical Chemistry and Nanoscience, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceAl Baha UniversityBaljurashiSaudi Arabia

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