Benzoquinones are class of natural quinones found chiefly in higher plants, fungi, bacteria and animal kingdom. They are involved in important biological functions such as bioenergetic transport, oxidative phosphorylation and electron transport processes. In recent years it has become increasingly clear that some of them possess potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities. There is clearly a common thread running through these activities and there have been a large number of studies carried out to unravel the mechanisms of these activities. In the present review we have provided a brief account of these studies especially covering these aspects. Although antioxidant potentials of these compounds constitute the basis of their biological activities its nature and scope is dictated by many microscopic biological environments. One of the important advantages offered by these compounds is the ease with which they can be synthesized and chemically manipulated. This can easily provide impetus for further research in developing some potentially useful drug molecules.
Keywords: Anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, benzoquinone, benzoquinone analogs, quinone
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