Free Radical Chemical Biology

Name: Free Radical Chemical Biology

Time:   42 hours/3 credits

Prerequisite Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry

Target audience: Undergraduate

Aim: The course introduces the important role of free radicals and reactive oxygen/nitrogen species in many life phenomena and the close relationship with human living environment and health. The content includes basic concepts and properties of reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, lipid peroxidation, oxidative damage of biological macromolecules such as DNA and protein, and antioxidants/antioxidant enzymes; free radicals and the laws of regulation in body metabolism; the relationships between free radicals and aging and various diseases; interventions on the abnormal phenomena of free radicals—the role of antioxidants. Students are required to be familiar with the rich content of this new discipline and its relationship with chemistry, biology, medicine, and environmental science, and to understand the basic research methods of free radical biology.


1.      Introduction of free radicals                                                   3 hours

2.      Reactive oxygen species                                                         9 hours

2.1 Life and Oxygen; Superoxide radical; Hydroxyl radical            

2.2   Hydrogen peroxide; Fe(II) and Fenton Reaction                  

2.3 Method to measure ROS and Electron Spin Resonance            

3.      Reactive nitrogen species                                                                   3 hours

4.      Antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes                                            9 hours

4.1 Antioxidants and free radical scavengers; Classification of antioxidants; Antioxidant/Pro-oxidant                                            

4.2 Several important antioxidants: Vitamin C/E; Natural flavonoids, etc.

4.3 Glutathione and Antioxidant enzymes; Glutathione, Glutathione peroxidase; Glutathione S-transferase

5.     Bio-macromolecules oxidative damage                                         9 hours

5.1 Lipid peroxidation mechanism; Biological effects of lipid peroxidation                              

5.2 Protein oxidative damage; Biomarkers of biomacromolecules oxidative damage

5.3 DNA oxidative damage; Chemical carcinogenesis; Carcinogenic mechanism of free radicals

6.     Environmental pollutants and free radical chemical Toxicology           9 hours

6.1 Halogenated quinones-mediated free radical production

6.2 Metal toxicity and free radicals

6.3 Synergistic toxicity of organic and inorganic pollutants


1Halliwell B., Gutteridge J. M. C., Free Radical Biology and Medicine (4th Edition), Oxford University Press, New York, 2007

2)孙存普 张建中 段绍瑾,《自由基生物学导论》,中国科技大学出版社,合肥,1999