Oxidants as Causes of Aging

The free radical theory of aging predicts that oxidants are the cause of aging. There are numerous experimental data supporting this hypothesis (67). However, there are also compelling data that are inconsistent with this hypothesis (68). There are several observations consistent with the free radical theory of aging, including the following:

■ An age-related increase in oxidative damage to a variety of molecules (DNA, protein, and lipid) is present in organisms ranging from single cellular organisms and invertebrates, to humans. For example, a significant increase of oxo8dG levels with increasing age has been observed in nuclear nDNA and mitochondrial mtDNA isolated from various tissues in rodents (69).

TABLE 5 Agents Involved in Protection Against Oxidants



Ascorbic acid (vitamin C)

FR scavenger


FR scavenger, enzyme cofactor

Tocopherol (vitamin E)

FR scavenger


Singlet oxygen scavengers


FR scavenger

Lipoic acid

FR scavenger

Uric acid

FR scavenger

Enzyme mimetic

Superoxide, hydrogen peroxide



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