Free radical pathology in chronic arterial disease

Jill J. F. Belch*, Mridula Chopra, Stephen Hutchison, Ross Lorimer, Roger D. Sturrock, Charles D. Forbes, W. Ewen Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The generation of toxic oxygen metabolites is more usually associated with inflammation. However, pathological free radical reactions can cause tissue damage by adversely affecting prostacyclin (PGI2) synthesis allowing initiation of coagulation. We have assessed changes in the red cell defence to toxic oxygen metabolite generation, viz measurement of glutathione concentration (GSH) and superoxide dismutase activity (SOD). GSH and SOD were measured in 20 patients with peripheral arterial disease, 22 patients with vasculitis, and 11 patients with angina, and compared to 17 matched controls. The 53 subjects with arterial disease and significantly lower SOD levels: in contrast GSH levels were significantly higher. Extracellularly plasma thiol levels (PSH) were low and caeruloplasmin (Cp) levels were high. We suggest that free radical pathology exists not only in inflammatory vascular disease but also in atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-378
Number of pages4
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1989


  • Arterial disease
  • Free radicals
  • Toxic oxygen metabolites


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