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Environmental risk factors and their footprints in vivo – a proposal for the classification of oxidative stress biomarkers

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posted on 2023-06-09, 20:22 authored by Pietro Ghezzi
Environmental agents, including socioeconomic condition, and host factors can act as causal agents and risk factors in disease. We use biomarkers and sociomarkers to study causal factors, such as overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which could play a role in disease through oxidative stress. It is therefore important to define the exact meaning of the biomarker we measure. In this review we attempt a classification of biomarkers related to oxidative stress based on their biological meaning. We define as type zero biomarkers the direct measurement of ROS in vivo in patients. Type 1 biomarkers are the most frequently used indicators of oxidative stress, represented by oxidized lipids, proteins or nucleic acids and their bases. Type 2 biomarkers are indicators of the activation of biochemical pathways that can lead to the formation of ROS. Type 3 biomarkers are host factors such as small-molecular weight antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes, while type 4 biomarkers measure genetic factors and mutations that could modify the susceptibility of an individual to oxidative stress. We also discuss whether biomarkers are actionable or not, that is if the specific blockade of these molecules can ameliorate disease or if they are just surrogate markers. The proposed classification of biomarkers of oxidative stress based on their meaning and ambiguities, within the theoretical framework of the oxidative stress theory of disease may help identify those diseases, and individuals, where oxidative stress has a causal role, to allow targeted therapy and personalized medicine.


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Redox Biology





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