Lanthanides are group of rare-earth elements with growing applications both in the industry and
healthcare. Their unique properties impose various possibilities for involvement in electron transfer reactions
essential for the cellular survival and health on general. The intensified contact of people with lanthanides
and the expanding medicinal applications of their compounds insist more profound knowledge on the involvement
in biologically relevant electron transfer reactions. It is well known that the balance between formation and elimination
of free radicals in a living body is essential for its health and survival. Any internal or environmental factor that alters
this balance alters the homeostasis and this way altering the health status. In the present review, the possibilities of changing
the balance between formation and elimination of free radicals, due to introduction of different lanthanides and their
complexes with organic ligands, were explored, based on the available information in the literature. It was observed that
lanthanides may act either as antioxidants or pro-oxidants, depending on the environment, the nature of the bonding in
their compounds, and concentration in the tissues. The opportunities for their application in medicine were related with
the abilities to control over their involvement in the overall oxidative status of the body.
Keywords: Antioxidants, Complexes, Electron Transfer Reactions, Free radicals, Lanthanides, Pro-oxidants.
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