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In living organisms production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is counterbalanced by their elimination and/or prevention of formation which in concert can typically maintain a steady-state (stationary) ROS level. However, this balance may be disturbed and lead to elevated ROS levels called oxidative stress. To our best knowledge, there is no broadly acceptable system of classification of oxidative stress based on its intensity due to which proposed here system may be helpful for interpretation of experimental data. Oxidative stress field is the hot topic in biology and, to date, many details related to ROS-induced damage to cellular components, ROS-based signaling, cellular responses and adaptation have been disclosed. However, it is common situation when researchers experience substantial difficulties in the correct interpretation of oxidative stress development especially when there is a need to characterize its intensity. Careful selection of specific biomarkers (ROS-modified targets) and some system may be helpful here. A classification of oxidative stress based on its intensity is proposed here. According to this classification there are four zones of function in the relationship between “Dose/concentration of inducer” and the measured “Endpoint”: I – basal oxidative stress (BOS); II – low intensity oxidative stress (LOS); III – intermediate intensity oxidative stress (IOS); IV – high intensity oxidative stress (HOS). The proposed classification will be helpful to describe experimental data where oxidative stress is induced and systematize it based on its intensity, but further studies will be in need to clear discriminate between stress of different intensity.
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