Oxyradicals, inflammation and drugs acting on oxyradical production

  • Dennis V. Parke
  • Andrew M. Symons
  • Ann L. Parke
Part of the Inflammation and Drug Therapy Series book series (IDTH, volume 3)


Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic systemic disease, with an autoimmune component, involving both humoral and cellular mechanisms. The biochemical mechanisms concerned are esoteric and involve the formation of immune complexes resulting in the production of oxygen radicals, with consequent damage of membranes, and activation of phospholipase A2. The subsequent release of arachidonate from membrane phospholipids leads to increased production of prostanoids. The production of oxygen radicals also results in the destruction of microsomal cytochromes, with impairment of corticosteroid biosynthesis, anaemia and accumulation of inorganic iron. All these molecular events, comprising a partly self-promoting cascade of chronic immunological injury, are considered to be initiated, at least originally, by an immune response to some infectious agent or ingested antigen and to be mediated by oxygen radicals (see Figure 1). However, although recent trends have been for physicians and pharmaceutical companies to exploit possible therapeutic benefits of oxygen radical scavengers and antioxidants in the treatment of rheumatoid disease, unequivocal evidence in vivo of oxygen radical involvement in arthritic tissue damage, and of therapeutic benefit of radical scavengers, is somewhat lacking1. This chapter is therefore directed to reviewing existing evidence for the participation of oxygen radicals in rheumatoid disease, and to consider the possible forms of treatment which involve inhibition of oxyradical production and prevention of oxyradical tissue damage.


Rheumatoid Arthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient Synovial Fluid Singlet Oxygen Oxygen Radical 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis V. Parke
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrew M. Symons
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ann L. Parke
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK
  2. 2.Division of Rheumatic DiseasesUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterFarmingtonUSA

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