7.343 The Radical Consequences of Respiration: Reactive Oxygen Species in Aging and Disease

Fall 2007

TNF-induced necrotic cell death

The pathway linking ROS production by NADPH oxidases (Nox) and TNFalpha pathway. The best evidence for ROS in normal physiological functioning comes from the existence of Nox, whose function is to produce controlled bursts of oxygen radicals. Nox enzyme function is particularly useful in immune cells in which the oxygen radical production is used to activate proteases to kill invading bacteria and other pathogens. (Courtesy of Elsevier, Inc., ScienceDirect. Used with permission.)

Course Description

This course will start with a survey of basic oxygen radical biochemistry followed by a discussion of the mechanisms of action of cellular as well as dietary antioxidants. After considering the normal physiological roles of oxidants, we will examine the effects of elevated ROS and a failure of cellular redox capacity on the rate of organismal and cellular aging as well as on the onset and progression of several major diseases that are often age-related. Topics will include ROS-induced effects on stem cell regeneration, insulin resistance, heart disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and cancer. The role of antioxidants in potential therapeutic strategies for modulating ROS levels will also be discussed.

This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching.

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Dr. Priyamvada Rai

Course Meeting Times

One session / week
2 hours / session