The long-standing free radical theory of aging, which attributes cellular pathology to the relentless accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), remains attractive but controversial. Emerging insights into the molecular interactions between ROS and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) such as nitric oxide suggest that, in biological systems, one effect of increased ROS is the disruption of protein S-nitrosylation, a ubiquitous posttranslational modification system. In this way, ROS may not only damage cells but also disrupt widespread signaling pathways. Here, we discuss this phenomenon in the context of the cardiovascular system and propose that ideas regarding oxidative stress and aging need to be reevaluated to take account of the balance between oxidative and nitrosative stress.
ASJC Scopus subject areas