Antioxidants are essential, and are involved in several important biological processes such as immunity, protection against tissue damage, reproduction, growth and development. Antioxidants preserve adequate function of cells against homeostatic disturbances such as those caused by septic shock, aging and, in general, processes involving oxidative stress. Each year, many scientific articles are published describing the pharmacological and biological properties of antioxidants. This review article compiles recent findings on these properties, focusing mainly on the anti-inflammatory properties of antioxidants in different pathological areas, such as cardiovascular damage and sepsis. In relation to this process, this review focuses on the involvement of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Finally, the protective role of antioxidants against homeostatic disturbances such as those caused by endotoxin toxicity and cardiovascular damage, their potential clinical use, and the effects on the redox state of immune cells are discussed.
Keywords: Antioxidant, cardiovascular dysfunction, endotoxin, flavonoids, immune system, ischemia, mitochondria, N-acetylcysteine, NF-kB, nitric oxide, patent, peroxynitrite, reactive oxygen species, septic shock, vitamin