superoxide dismutase

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference


A widely distributed enzyme that removes the superoxide radical (O2·), with the formation of molecular oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, in the following reaction:

O2· + O2· + 2H+ → O2 + H2O2

The hydrogen peroxide formed is removed by the action of catalase. The superoxide anion, which damages tissues, is a free radical formed by the partial reduction of molecular oxygen and a normal by-product of aerobic respiration in mitochondria. It is also produced during the metabolic breakdown of various toxins (including drugs and chemical poisons) and as part of the immune response to the presence of bacteria and virus-infected cells. See oxidative burst.

Subjects: Medicine and Health — Biological Sciences.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.