Exercise-induced brachial artery vasodilation: role of free radicals
As is always the case with physiology, there needs to be balance. Few things are “good” or “bad,” but rather need to be taken in the whole context of the patient. As a review, free radicals are generated as a side effect of energy production in the mitochondria, and are normally quenched by endogenous antioxidants or antioxidant enzymes. When left to run amok, they can create mass amounts of damage within a cell and play a role in the development of most chronic diseases. However, we know that white blood cells use free radicals to destroy engulfed bacteria and viruses.
This study finds another function for free radical production. Flow mediated vasodilation of arteries is a good thing and can increase blood flow to an area. The vasculature uses free radical production as a marker to increase blood flow to an area. The bottom line is that, as with anything to do with physiology, it’s about balance.