Being the key elements of life, at least for the aerobic cells and organisms, oxygen determines our faith under normal as well as under stressful circumstances. Being well-balanced, the supply of oxygen together with the material sources of energy, such a glucose, under stable, homeostatic circumstances allows growth, functionality and activity of the living system, while any disbalance, even reversible, may be considered as stress, bearing risk of decay or alterations.
If we consider oxidative stress as molecular essence of any stress, we could assume that its onset demands adaptation of the living system that could result in hormesis or alternatively its consequences could lead to undesirable modifications of major bioactive molecules and change the essential principles of life. Accordingly, it is not unusual that oxidative stress plays important roles in many disorders and is considered often as important pathogenic factor of many diseases. If so, one may ask questions such as: how can we influence the onset of oxidative stress, could antioxidants be effective medicinal remedies or they could damage homeostasis, should pro-oxidants be considered only as our enemy or are they also crucial for stability of the living system, etc.?
Answering these and many other questions should be possible if we follow well our already reached levels of knowledge in usual scholastic ways, on one hand, but on the other, if that cannot be the way to gain all the answers raised, perhaps we should examine more hypoxia and hyperoxia as living preconditions for some living cells or as alterations of the living systems, as in case of malignant cells.
Do multicellular eukaryotes (members of the five “kingdoms of life”) experience oxidative stress the same way, can organisms living in water experience oxidative stress the same way as the other organisms do? Can really antioxidants produced by any of these living systems work effectively for the others? Do environmental/climate changes alter not only our way of living but also the ways of life? Can we synthesize better pro- and anti-oxidants than nature does?
These and many other questions relevant for biology considered as the study of living organisms will be of interest of this Special Issue aiming to collect comprehensive reviews as well as original research papers that could summarize and increase our knowledge on biology of oxidative stress, both of its good and bad aspects that make stress work either to destroy life or to make the living systems stronger.
Prof. Dr. Neven Zarkovic