Free radicals and aging

David Cassarino dsc9w at
Wed Jul 10 11:14:23 EST 1996

I've noticed that this newsgroup seems rather random and have
seen very few good discussions on the molecular causes of aging.
I would like to start a discussion on the role of free radicals
in aging.
I have been reading a bit on the putative role of free radicals
in aging, and I'm wondering what others think about the
proposal that free radicals and oxidative damage are a
significant cause of aging?

Although it is clear that these factors are involved in such
pathologies as ischemic heart injury, autoimmune diseases, and
neurodegenerative diseases, it is not certain if they just
contribute to aging or are actually causative.

I think it's very interesting that in calorie-restricted
animals, the levels of free radical scavenging enzymes like SOD
and GPX are elevated, and that mice clones overexpressing SOD
have prolonged life spans.  The theory is that these enzymes,
and others like GSH-RD and catalase are protecting the organism
from oxidative damage to DNA, prots, lipids, etc., which
normally => aging and cell death.  
Arguing against the free radicals/aging theory are experiments
showing only an increased mean but not MAXIMUM life span in
animals fed antioxidants like Vits A, C, E, Se, etc.

I would really be interested in hearing others' opinions on
this topic.

David S. Cassarino              "The mind is not a vessel to be filled
MSTP, Neuroscience 2nd Year          but a fire to be kindled."               
UVA School of Medicine                   -Plutarch
dsc9w at          

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