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The Arterial Inflammation and Redox Biology Group, led by Professor Roland Stocker, has published a paper in the prestigious Nature Communications journal.

The research team included Dr Anita Ayer and Dr Stephanie Kong, as well as Dr Chris Stanley, now the Microvascular Research Unit leader at HRI.

In their work “Hydrogen peroxide signaling via its transformation to a stereospecific alkyl hydroperoxide that escapes reductive inactivation”, the Group investigated the formation and elimination of chemicals that act as “signalling molecules” when cells “communicate” the execution of biological tasks within and amongst themselves. Among such molecules are chemicals that undergo a reduction-oxidation (redox) change as part of the signalling, a process referred to as redox signalling. Redox signalling in animals and humans is commonly thought to involve two molecules. One of these is hydrogen peroxide, although it has remained largely unclear how hydrogen peroxide can “redox signal”.

The Group’s research provides insight into this mechanism by showing that hydrogen peroxide is transformed into a chemically different “hydroperoxide” that can “redox signal” more effectively and more specifically than hydrogen peroxide.

This discovery of the novel way in which biological tasks are executed at the molecular level introduces a new concept in cellular redox signalling.

“At a chemical/molecular level, redox signalling by hydrogen peroxide may be more sophisticated than previously assumed,” says Prof Stocker.

“We next need to find out how common or unique the signalling pathway we have identified is in health and disease. This will indicate whether interference with this signalling path has the potential to provide new treatment options for diseases including cardiovascular disease.”

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