Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Free radicals may be good for you

Date:
March 1, 2011
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Fear of free radicals may be exaggerated, according to new research. A new study shows that free radicals act as signal substances that cause the heart to beat with the correct force.

Fear of free radicals may be exaggerated, according to scientists from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet. A new study, published in The Journal of Physiology, shows that free radicals act as signal substances that cause the heart to beat with the correct force.

Free radicals are molecules that react readily with other substances in the body, and this can have negative effects on health in certain circumstances, through the damage caused to cells. Free radicals can be counteracted by substances known as 'antioxidants', which are common ingredients in many dietary supplements. The idea that free radicals are generally dangerous and must be counteracted is, however, a myth, according to scientists who have conducted a new study of the role that free radicals play in heart physiology.

"As usual, it's a case of everything in moderation. In normal conditions, free radicals act as important signal substances, but very high levels or long-lasting increases can lead to disease," says Professor Håkan Westerblad, who has led the study.

When the body is subject to different types of stress, the sympathetic nervous system stimulates receptors known as beta-adrenergic receptors on the surface of heart muscle cells. This leads to several changes inside the cells, one of which is the phosphorylation of proteins. This leads to the contractions of the cells becoming stronger and the heart beats with greater force.

In the current study, the scientists show that stimulation of the beta-adrenergic receptors also leads to increased production of free radicals in the mitochondria of the cells, and these then contribute to stronger contractions of the cells. When the scientists exposed the cells to antioxidants, a major part of the effect of beta-adrenergic stimulation of the heart muscle cells disappeared.

The results reveal a previously unknown regulatory mechanism of the force production in the heart, and may lead to a better understanding of various types of heart deficiency.

"Free radicals play an important role, since they contribute to the heart being able to pump more blood in stress-filled situations," says Håkan Westerblad. "On the other hand, persistent stress can lead to heart failure, and chronically increased levels of free radicals may be part of the problem here."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel C Andersson, Jérémy Fauconnier, Takashi Yamada, Alain Lacampagne, Shi-Jin Zhang, Abram Katz & Håkan Westerblad. Mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species contributes to the beta-adrenergic stimulation of mouse cardiomycytes. The Journal of Physiology, 28 February 2011 DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2010.202838

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Free radicals may be good for you." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228090404.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2011, March 1). Free radicals may be good for you. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228090404.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Free radicals may be good for you." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228090404.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) — Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins