Toxic actors

In the mitochondrion, there is a 'physiological leaking' of partially reduced oxygen species, a phenomenon widely amplified under conditions of insufficient or excessive oxygen supply. Partially reduced oxygen species are produced, namely superoxide radical O2'- , hydroxyl radical * OH, and hydrogen peroxide H2O2. These diverse chemical species of oxygen are indirectly responsible for the toxic effects of oxygen, their toxicity being related to their high reactivity. This extreme chemical reactivity is notably deleterious for targets like SH proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids and nucleic acids.

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