Oxidizing agents or electron-accepting molecules in chemical reactions in which electrons are transferred from one molecule to another (oxidation-reduction). In vivo, it appears that phagocyte-generated oxidants function as tumour promoters or cocarcinogens rather than as complete carcinogens perhaps because of the high levels of endogenous antioxidant defenses. It is also thought that oxidative damage in joints may trigger the autoimmune response that characterises the persistence of the rheumatoid disease process.
(12 Dec 1998)
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