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Role of free Radicals

Infections Diseases

Recent research suggests that ROS may be involved in the pathogenesis of viral infections. The majority research has centered on HIV. At sites of infection, ROS can cause stress to neighboring host tissue and induce cellular production of pro-inflammatory cytokines resulting in inflammatory tissue injury. Cytokines may promote further ROS release, mainly through the transcription regulating factors and can induce HIV replication and gene expression. HIV patients have comparably lower glutathione levels (around 30% ) than normal individuals and the levels are further reduced in AIDS patients, indicating a link between glutathione levels and the severity of disease. Plasma selenium levels, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and reductase activities also lower in AIDS patients. Antioxidant therapy has been proposed as a treatment for HIV and AIDS. Increased glutathione supplementation in HIV infected human cell lines have demonstrated that HIV expression can be reduced. Some success has been reported in AIDS patients, who voluntarily ingested large doses of ascorbate. Oral administration of ascorbate also produced clinical improvements in patients with influenza, hepatitis, herpes, and infectious mononucleosis.

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