Laboratory of Biochemistry of Free Radicals


Oxygen is indispensable for life, but the aerobic metabolism also has a certain dark side in the necessity to face the oxidative stress, i.e., damage to biological structures by the reactive oxygen species (oxygen radicals). Nowadays we know that functions of the reactive oxygen species in the body are considerably more complex than once thought. It has become clear that the reactive oxygen species are not only fundamental pathogenetic factors damaging biomolecules, but they also act as signaling molecules involved in controls of essential and extremely complex cellular functions, such as gene expression, cell proliferation, differentiation, and, eventually, cell death.

Our Institute of Medical Biochemistry keeps a traditional interest in the oxidative stress. Currently, our Laboratory of Biochemistry of Free Radicals focuses mostly on the metabolism and toxicity of iron. The iron in the body is Janus-faced just as the oxygen itself: on one hand being essential as a cofactor of oxidoreductases, and, in fact, all proteins that do anything with oxygen, but on the other hand able to act as an extremely dangerous catalyzer of redox reactions, converting stable oxygen derivatives to highly reactive ones.

In the past we studied effects of iron on mitochondria, specifically on an interesting phenomenon MPT (mitochondrial permeability transition). We also investigated the regeneration of glomerular podocytes, and in cooperation with Department of Psychiatry we searched for biochemical markers of neurodegenerative and affective disorders.

Currently we are mostly interested in the role of iron metabolism in pathogenesis of common civilisation disorders - diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis. We study mechanisms and functional consequences of non-enzymatic glycation of ferritin, the main iron storage protein. Next, we are very interested in the role of iron within monocytes and macrophages in the atherosclerosis progression, and the general significance of body iron as a cardiovascular risk factor.

We perform mostly in vitro experiments with commercially available ferritin or the cultured cells of the human monocytic cell line THP-1. We use various spectrophotometric and spectrofluorometric assays, a range of immunochemical techniques, such as Western immunoblotting, ELISA and immunofluorescence, and in the latest years we increasingly rely on the analyses of gene expression by means of quantitative PCR.



27.09.2023  |   jplat  |   zpět na Biochemistry of Free Radicals