Pure Healing

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Targeting the Redox Balance in Inflammatory Skin Conditions


(by Frank A. D. T. G. Wagener, Carine E. Carels and Ditte M. S. Lundvig)

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) can be both beneficial and deleterious. Under normal physiological conditions, ROS production is tightly regulated, and ROS participate in both pathogen defense and cellular signaling.

However, insufficient ROS detoxification or ROS overproduction generates oxidative stress, resulting in cellular damage. Oxidative stress has been linked to various inflammatory diseases. Inflammation is an essential response in the protection against injurious insults and thus important at the onset of wound healing. However, hampered resolution of inflammation can result in a chronic, exaggerated response with additional tissue damage.

In the pathogenesis of several inflammatory skin conditions, e.g., sunburn and psoriasis, inflammatory-mediated tissue damage is central. The prolonged release of excess ROS in the skin can aggravate inflammatory injury and promote chronic inflammation. The cellular redox balance is therefore tightly regulated by several (enzymatic) antioxidants and pro-oxidants; however, in case of chronic inflammation, the antioxidant system may be depleted, and prolonged oxidative stress occurs.

Due to the central role of ROS in inflammatory pathologies, restoring the redox balance forms an innovative therapeutic target in the development of new strategies for treating inflammatory skin conditions. Nevertheless, the clinical use of antioxidant-related therapies is still in its infancy.

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Redox and skin

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