Heart disease is one of the major health problems of advanced as well as developing countries of the world. Extensive research through the last decade has shown beyond doubt that free radicals, particularly, reactive oxygen species play a cardinal role in the pathogenesis of oxidative myocardial damage with consequential cardiac malfunction. This review presents a comprehensive account of the present day knowledge regarding the oxygen free radicals involved in the genesis of ischemic heart disease, the mechanism(s) of oxidative myocardial damage and the endogenous as well as exogenous antioxidant defense systems. Furthermore, the role of ischemic pre-conditioning, some antioxidants and the ability of some cardioprotective drugs in providing protection against the ischemic myocardial damage are also discussed. The text of the article comes to an end with a commentary on the future research perspective in the concerned area, which throws a light on the development of combinatorial therapeutics in the treatment of ischemic myocardial disease.
Keywords: ischemic heart disease, free radicals, oxidative stress, cardioprotective antioxidants
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