Lipid peroxidation cannot be used as a universal criterion of oxidative stress

Y. Dotan, D. Lichtenberg*, I. Pinchuk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Oxidative stress is a term used to denote the imbalance between the concentrations of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and the defense mechanisms of the body. Although it is generally accepted that such an imbalance plays a pivotal role in many pathologies, the term "oxidative stress" remains ill defined. In an attempt to evaluate the relationship between various assays of oxidative stress, we have analyzed the correlations between the results reported in those publications in which "oxidative stress" has been assayed by at least two methods. We found good correlations between the concentrations of several peroxidation products, including malondialdehyde, F2-Isoprostanes, lipid hydroperoxides, conjugated dienes, glutathione and protein carbonyls, but not with other criteria of "individual oxidative status" such as the concentration of antioxidants and products of DNA fragmentation (the "comet" assay). In light of these findings, we divide the assays used for evaluation of "oxidative stress" into the following three categories: (i) assays based on measuring the concentrations of oxidation products of lipids, proteins and DNA, as well as the concentrations of antioxidants, (ii) assays used to evaluate the oxidative and reductive capacity of biological fluids and (iii) assays used to evaluate the ex vivo susceptibility of lipids to oxidation upon their exposure to a source of free radicals. Our analyses demonstrate that oxidative stress cannot be defined in universal terms. Two results are of special interest:1. the commonly used criteria based on lipid peroxidation can not be regarded as a general estimate of the individual "oxidative status".2. the levels of antioxidants exhibit a non-monotonic relation with other criteria for oxidative stress. Further research is required to evaluate the significance of the latter finding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-227
Number of pages28
JournalProgress in Lipid Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Antioxidants
  • Comet assay
  • HPLC
  • Isoprostanes
  • LDL
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Malondialdehyde (MDA)
  • Oxidative stress
  • Protein carbonyls
  • Uric acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E


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