A the ATP production of the mitochondria (oxidation). Free

A Synthesis Analysis of Free
Radicals inside the Body

Kurt
Alec R. Mira

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Cell
is the basic unit of life. The human body is composed of around thirty to
seventy trillion eukaryotic cells. Inside the cell is the mitochondria. It
holds an important role in the cell and acts as a regulator of cellular
metabolism (Halliwell & Gutteridge, 2007). When cells provide energy, they
use oxygen. However, free radicals are created due to the ATP production of the
mitochondria (oxidation). Free radicals do not initially harm the body. These
will only start damaging the body when it cannot regulate them anymore. When this
happens, oxidative stress begins. Free radicals can cause damage to significant
macromolecules, which leads to cell damage and homeostatic disruption. Thus,
numerous diseases can occur due to the alteration of proteins, lipids, and DNA
inside the body by the free radicals (Rao, Bharani, & Pallavi, 2006).

The
body has a way on how to prevent free radicals from causing dysfunctions. To
detoxify the oxidants, the body has its own defense system called antioxidants
(Matill, 1947). Antioxidants inside the body, such as gluthatione, uric acid,
and ubiquinol, stop the free radicals from causing diseases. Insulin, which is
released from the pancreas, enhances liver and muscle tissues to consume
glucose from the blood, and store it as gylcogen. This process lowers blood
sugar to stable levels. Such process helps the prevention of type 2 diabetes
due to sugar regulation in the body (Ristow et al., 2009). Not only that, but Nicotine adenine dinucleotides (NAD+/NADH)
and their phosphorylated forms (NADP+/NADPH) are known to have vital
roles in the production of energy, regulation of ion channels, and antioxidant
defenses in cardiovascular tissues (Nakamura, Bhatnagar, &
Sadoshima, 2011). In addition, cell
proliferation is also a factor in body’s defense against free radicals. The
cells can cope up with the oxidative stress caused by the free radicals.

However, an excess accumulation of free radicals can
overwhelm the cells inside the body. When this happens, subcellular damage and
aging will occur (Strehler, 1977). There will be defects
in the mitochondrion system, which is caused by damages from oxidants. These
damaged mitochondria should be removed by mitophagy, apoptosis, or necrosis to
prevent them from multiplying through mitosis and meiosis (Kubli & Gustafsson,
2012). Not only that, but oxidative damage to
protein may affect the activity of enzymes, receptors, and membrane transport,
and is caused by peroxyl oxidal (Freeman & Crapo, 1982). This all leads to
aging. As cells age, the body cannot produce antioxidants it needs to
fight free radicals. The major mechanism of aging attributes to DNA or the
accumulation of cellular and functional damage (Ames
& Shigenaga, 1992). This means that during the aging process of a
human body, there will be an increase in oxidative stress.

Furthermore,
eukaryotic cells in the body are the most vulnerable in such cases because they
house the DNA of a person. DNA is also considered as the main target of free
radical damage because it is inside the mitochondria. Almost every cell in the
body carries the DNA. DNA is considered vulnerable to oxidative damages because
of hydrogen atom transfer and the prevalence of double bonds in the DNA bases
that oxidants can easily add to. According to Galluzzi, Kepp, Trojel-Hansen,
and Kroemer (2012), this happens because free
radicals are known to react with all components of DNA. Increased levels
of oxidative damage to DNA can cause major disorders in the body such as
Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and carcinogenesis. Thus,
it damages the base and the deoxyribose backbone of DNA, which can cause
mutations in crucial genes (Freeman & Crapo, 1982). These mutations
proliferate during mitosis and meiosis of cells and ultimately, this may lead
to cancer.