Environmental oxidant pollutant effects on biologic systems: A focus on micronutrient antioxidant-oxidant interactions

Carroll E Cross, Giuseppe Valacchi, Bettina Schock, Malinda Wilson, Stefan Weber, Jason Eiserich, Albert Van der Vliet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Oxidative atmospheric pollutants represent a significant source of stress to both terrestrial plants and animals. The biosurfaces of plants and surface-living organisms are directly exposed to these pollutant stresses. These surfaces, including respiratory tract surfaces, contain integrated antioxidant systems that would be expected to provide a primary defense against environmental threats caused by atmospheric reactive oxygen species. When the biosurface antioxidant defenses are overwhelmed, oxidative stress to the cellular components of the exposed biosurfaces can be expected, inducing inflammatory, adaptive, injurious, and reparative processes. Studies of mutants and/or transformed plants and insects, with specific alterations in key components of antioxidant defense systems, offer opportunities to dissect the complex systems that maintain surface defenses against environmental oxidants. In this article, we use a comparative approach to consider interactions of atmospheric oxidant pollutants with selected biosystems, with focus on O3 as the pollutant; plants, flies, skin, and lungs as the exposed biosystems; and nonenzymatic micronutrient antioxidants as significant contributors to overall antioxidant defense strategies of these varied biosystems. Parallelisms among several living organisms, with regard to their protective strategies against environmental atmospheric oxidants, are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number12 II
StatePublished - Dec 15 2002


  • Ascorbic acid
  • Flies
  • Ozone
  • Plants
  • Respiratory tract lining fluids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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