Acute or chronic oxidative stress plays an important role in many pathologies. Two opposite approaches are typically used to prevent the damage induced by reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS), namely treatment either with antioxidants or with weak oxidants that up-regulate endogenous antioxidant mechanisms. This review discusses options for the third pharmacological approach, namely amelioration of oxidative stress by ‘redox-inert’ compounds, which do not inactivate RONS but either inhibit the basic mechanisms leading to their formation (i.e. inflammation) or help cells to cope with their toxic action. The present study describes biochemical targets of many drugs mitigating acute oxidative stress in animal models of ischemia–reperfusion injury or N-acetyl-p-aminophenol overdose. In addition to the pro-inflammatory molecules, the targets of mitigating drugs include protein kinases and transcription factors involved in regulation of energy metabolism and cell life/death balance, proteins regulating mitochondrial permeability transition, proteins involved in the endoplasmic reticulum stress and unfolded protein response, nuclear receptors such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, and isoprenoid synthesis. The data may help in identification of oxidative stress mitigators that will be effective in human disease on top of the current standard of care.

You do not currently have access to this content.