free radicals still are not the major cause of ageing
drierac at deakin.edu.au
Wed Feb 15 18:26:27 EST 1995
Since posting my comments on free radical damage and ageing I have seen a
number of comments posted on the bulletin board and some directed to me
personally, some of them quite insulting. Nevertheless I want to thank all
people who responded. I still think you have no case.
Some clear thinking is needed here. Proteins, and lipids can be damaged by
many processes including free radicals. For some cells which no longer have
the ability to renew these components, this matters. Thus there is convincing
evidence that the deterioration of sperm cells and erythrocytes involves free
In addition hypoxia/ischemia may impair cells ability to respond to stress and
replace damaged proteins, etc. I will concede that it is likely that free
radical damage contributes to the damage associated with
Therefore it seems likely that free radical blockers may contribute to the
extension of good health, at least in some cases. So does safe driving!
However the best efforts of cell biologists have failed to find any consistent
effect of radicals in cell culture. There is consistently a big zero on this
Furthermore in old age there are many cells which are still functionally
intact. This most marked in the brain where some cells appear to deteriorate
rapidly and neighbouring cells are uneffected. I read this in the mammalian
literature and am finding it in Drosophila.
Furthermore it is possible to take cells from a very old human, transform them
and produce immortal cell lines. There is not sufficient mutational damage to
Finally there is not one case in the literature that I can find where free
radical blockers, retard a number of normal physiological declines. Without
this data you have no case.
Having said tha I would be delighted if one of the netters could supply me
with this experiment in print.
Yours in hope, Chris Driver
Chris Driver, Ph D
School of Biology and Chemistry, Rusden Campus
662 Blackburn Rd
Clayton, VIC, 3168
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