Reactive Sulfur Species: An Emerging Concept in Oxidative Stress

G.I. Giles and C. Jacob

Abstract

The ingredients of oxidative stress include a variety of reactive species such as reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species (ROS, RNS). While sulfur is usually considered as part of cellular antioxidant systems there is mounting evidence that reactive sulfur species (RSS) with stressor properties similar to the ones found in ROS are formed under conditions of oxidative stress. Thiols as well as disulfides are easily oxidised to sulfur species with sulfur in higher oxidation states. Such agents include thiyl radicals, disulfides, sulfenic acids and disulfideSoxides. They rapidly oxidise and subsequently inhibit thiolproteins and enzymes and can be considered as a separate class of oxidative stressors providing new antioxidant drug targets.

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