Chemicals associated with oxidative stress may be essential to development

July 12, 2018

Some level of molecules linked to oxidative stress may be essential to health and development, according to new animal studies.

Reactive molecules derived from molecular oxygen, known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), increase dramatically in the body during times of environmental stress or disease. This stress can result in significant damage to cells and is associated with negative health consequences such as aging, male infertility, degenerative diseases and cancer.

"We think there's an ideal intermediate concentration, but neither extreme is good," said Daniel Suter, a professor of biological sciences at Purdue University.

In a recent study, Suter's team looked at an enzyme that produces ROS in zebrafish embryos to see if it's essential to the development of their nervous systems. Inhibiting this enzyme, NADPH oxidase (Nox), resulted in complications with signaling between the eyes and the brain. The findings were published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

The research team used a drug called celastrol to inhibit Nox activity, which led to defects in the formation of the ganglion cell layer and optic nerve, both of which send signals from the retina of the eye to the brain.

But a drug could affect other enzymes besides Nox, so the researchers needed to confirm their results with another approach. The team turned to CRISPR, a system for modifying genes in living cells and organisms, to mutate Nox genes in the zebrafish embryo.

This method also allowed the researchers to differentiate between different isoforms of Nox. Their findings show that Nox2 could be functionally important to neuronal development, whereas mutations in Nox5 could lead to more general developmental problems.

"This is really a study about the role of ROS as signaling molecules in normal development, but it has key applications for human health," Suter said. "If you take too many antioxidants to treat disorders or injuries, you could go into a range where you get negative effects, because ultimately you need some ROS for normal signaling. We're trying to figure out if there is a certain range that's best."
-end-
Researchers from the Suter, Deng, and Leung labs in the Department of Biological Sciences; Purdue's Institute for Integrative Neuroscience; Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease; and Bindley Bioscience Center contributed to this work. The research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Purdue Research Foundation, Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships, National Institutes of Health, Purdue Center for Cancer Research, and the International Retinal Research Foundation.

Purdue University

Related Stress Articles from Brightsurf:

Stress-free gel
Researchers at The University of Tokyo studied a new mechanism of gelation using colloidal particles.

Early life stress is associated with youth-onset depression for some types of stress but not others
Examining the association between eight different types of early life stress (ELS) and youth-onset depression, a study in JAACAP, published by Elsevier, reports that individuals exposed to ELS were more likely to develop a major depressive disorder (MDD) in childhood or adolescence than individuals who had not been exposed to ELS.

Red light for stress
Researchers from the Institute of Industrial Science at The University of Tokyo have created a biphasic luminescent material that changes color when exposed to mechanical stress.

How do our cells respond to stress?
Molecular biologists reverse-engineer a complex cellular structure that is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS

How stress remodels the brain
Stress restructures the brain by halting the production of crucial ion channel proteins, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

How plants handle stress
Plants get stressed too. Drought or too much salt disrupt their physiology.

Stress in the powerhouse of the cell
University of Freiburg researchers discover a new principle -- how cells protect themselves from mitochondrial defects.

Measuring stress around cells
Tissues and organs in the human body are shaped through forces generated by cells, that push and pull, to ''sculpt'' biological structures.

Cellular stress at the movies
For the first time, biological imaging experts have used a custom fluorescence microscope and a novel antibody tagging tool to watch living cells undergoing stress.

Read More: Stress News and Stress Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.