Reactive Oxygen Species
The expression “Reactive Oxygen Species” (ROS) is used to describe a variety of chemical species derived from molecular oxygen (O2). Some ROS involve O2 (in the ground state or electronically excited) as well as molecules containing partially reduced oxygen. Although the term ROS is usually used as a synonym of “oxidants,” some of them act often as “reductants” instead. Thus, the reactivity and chemical structure of different ROS varies substantially. In this short review, we describe the chemical structure of the most common ROS and their toxicity to biological systems as well as some recently identified important roles in cell regulation.
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