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Oxidative stress: Less harmful than suspected?
Date:12/5/2011

was found in the fly's intestine. Moreover, when comparing flies with different life spans, they found out that the accumulation of oxidants in intestinal tissue even accelerated with a longer life span. The group thus found no evidence supporting the frequently voiced assumption that an organism's life span is limited by the production of harmful oxidants.

Even though comprehensive studies have failed to provide proof until the present day, antioxidants are often advertised as a protection against oxidative stress and, thus, health-promoting. Dick and colleagues fed their flies with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a substance which is attributed an antioxidant effect and which some scientists consider suitable for protecting the body against presumably dangerous oxidants. Interestingly, no evidence of a decrease in oxidants was found in the NAC-fed flies. On the contrary, the researchers were surprised to find that NAC prompted the energy plants of various tissues to significantly increase oxidant production.

"Many things we observed in the flies with the help of the biosensors came as a surprise to us. It seems that many findings obtained in isolated cells cannot simply be transferred to the situation in a living organism," said Tobias Dick, summarizing their findings. "The example of NAC also shows that we are currently not able to predictably influence oxidative processes in a living organism by pharmacology," he adds. "Of course, we cannot simply transfer these findings from fly to man. Our next goal is to use the biosensors to observe oxidative processes in mammals, especially in inflammatory reactions and in the development of tumors."


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Contact: Dr. Sibylle Kohlstdt
s.kohlstaedt@dkfz.de
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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