A multitude of studies in experimental animals, together with clinical data, provide evidence that increased production of ROS (reactive oxygen species) are involved in the development and progression of cardiovascular disease. As ROS appear to have a critical role in atherosclerosis, there has been considerable interest in identifying the enzyme systems involved and in developing strategies to reduce oxidative stress. Prospective clinical trials with vitamins and hormone replacement therapy have not fulfilled earlier promises, although there is still interest in other dietary supplements. Superoxide dismutase mimetics, thiols, xanthine oxidase and NAD(P)H oxidase inhibitors are currently receiving much interest, while animal studies using gene therapy show promise, but are still at an early stage. Of the drugs in common clinical use, there is evidence that ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors and AT1(angiotensin II type 1) receptor blockers have beneficial effects on oxidative stress above their antihypertensive properties, whereas statins, in addition to improving lipid profiles, may also lower oxidative stress.

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