Interaction of antioxidants and their implication in genetic anemia

Alvin C. Chan*, Ching K. Chow, Daniel Chiu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

141 Scopus citations


The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a steady-state cellular event in respiring cells. Their production can be grossly amplified in response to a variety of pathophysiological conditions such as inflammation, immunologic disorders, hypoxia, hyperoxia, metabolism of drug or alcohol, exposure to UV or therapeutic radiation, and deficiency in antioxidant vitamins. Uncontrolled production of ROS often leads to damage of cellular macromolecules (DNA, protein, and lipids) and other small antioxidant molecules. A number of major cellular defense mechanisms exist to neutralize and combat the damaging effects of these reactive substances. The enzymic system functions by direct or sequential removal of ROS (superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase), thereby terminating their activities. Metal binding proteins, targeted to bind iron and copper ions, ensure that these Fenton metals are cryptic. Nonenzymic defense consists of scavenging molecules that are endogenously produced (GSH, ubiquinols, uric acid) or those derived from the diet (vitamins C and E, lipoic acid, selenium, riboflavin, zinc, and the carotenoids). These antioxidant nutrients occupy distinct cellular compartments and among them, there are active recycling. For example, oxidized vitamin E (tocopheroxy radical) has been shown to be regenerated by ascorbate, GSH, lipoic acid, or ubiquinols. GSH disulfides (GSSG) can be regenerated by GSSG reductase (a riboflavin- dependent protein), and enzymic pathways have been identified for the recycling of ascorbate radical and dehydroascorbate. The electrons that are used to fuel these recycling reactions (NADH and NADPH) are ultimately derived from the oxidation of foods. Sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase deficiency are all hereditary disorders with higher potential for oxidative damage due to chronic redox imbalance in red cells that often results in clinical manifestation of mild to serve hemolysis in patients with these disorders. The release of hemoglobin during hemolysis and the subsequent therapeutic transfusion in some cases lead to systemic iron overloading that further potentiates the generation of ROS. Antioxidant status in anemia will be examined, and the potential application of antioxidant treatment as an adjunct therapy under these conditions will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-282
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 12 1999


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