Reductive stress (RS) is the counterpart oxidative stress (OS), and can occur in response to conditions that shift the redox balance of important biological redox couples, such as the NAD+
/NADPH, and GSH/GSSG, to a more reducing state. Overexpression of antioxidant enzymatic systems leads to excess reducing equivalents that can deplete reactive oxidative species, driving the cells to RS. A feedback regulation is established in which chronic RS induces OS, which in turn, stimulates again RS. Excess reducing equivalents may regulate cellular signaling pathways, modify transcriptional activity, induce alterations in the formation of disulfide bonds in proteins, reduce mitochondrial function, decrease cellular metabolism, and thus, contribute to the development of some diseases in which NF-κB, a redox-sensitive transcription factor, participates. Here, we described the diseases in which an inflammatory condition is associated to RS, and where delayed folding, disordered transport, failed oxidation, and aggregation are found. Some of these diseases are aggregation protein cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, muscular dystrophy, pulmonary hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and metabolic syndrome, among others. Moreover, chronic consumption of antioxidant supplements, such as vitamins and/or flavonoids, may have pro-oxidant effects that may alter the redox cellular equilibrium and contribute to RS, even diminishing life expectancy.
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