Nonenzymic formation of radicals

A variety of transition metal ions react with oxygen or hydrogen peroxide in solution:

Physiologically important metal ions include iron, copper, cobalt and nickel. Normally, metal ions are not present in free solution to any significant extent, but are bound to transport proteins (in plasma) or storage proteins and enzymes (in cells). Thus, iron is bound to transferrin (in plasma) and haemosiderin and ferritin in tissues, copper is bound to caeruloplasmin in plasma, and metallothionein in plasma binds a wide variety of metal ions. The adverse effects of iron overload (section 4.5.1) are the result of free iron, not bound to storage proteins, acting as a source of oxygen radicals.

Ionizing radiation such as X-rays, the radiation from radioactive isotopes and ultraviolet from sunlight cause lysis of water to yield hydroxyl and other radicals.

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