The hypothesis that pathologic free-radical reactions are initiated and catalyzed in the major central nervous system (CNS) disorders has been further supported by the current acute spinal cord injury work that has demonstrated the appearance of specific, cholesterol free-radical oxidation products. The significance of these products is suggested by the fact that: (i) they increase with time after injury; (ii) their production is curtailed with a steroidal antioxidant; (iii) high antioxidant doses of the steroidal antioxidant which curtail the development of free-radical product prevent tissue degeneration and permit functional restoration. The role of pathologic free-radical reactions is also inferred from the loss of ascorbic acid, a principal CNS antioxidant, and of extractable cholesterol. These losses are also prevented by the steroidal antioxidant. This model system is among others in the CNS which offer distinctive opportunities to study, in vivo, the onset and progression of membrane damaging free-radical reactions within well-defined parameters of time, extent of tissue injury, correlation with changes in membrane enzymes, and correlation with readily measurable in vivo functions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)