Another Excerpt from Final Chapters: Redox Signaling Mediates Everything

COVER_REDOX_SIGNALING_BIOLOGY

 

The field of redox signaling is destined to become the field of science that will fuel the greatest medical discoveries in this next century and beyond. The universal signaling systems that exist in the fluids of life, inside every living cell and tissue, the signaling systems that have existed from the inception of life and in all forms of life that have existed or will exist on earth constitute the most fundamental signaling systems in biology. They reveal to us what makes life work on the smallest, most universal level. Redox signaling describes the molecular signaling mechanisms that modify the structure of water, that transmit messages throughout the fundamental fluids of life. The simple, common molecules that initiate and transmit these messages through living fluids are mostly manufactured inside living cells from water (hydrogen and oxygen) and salt (chloride and sodium), and also include a few of most common elements of life (nitrogen, carbon and sulfur). These are the molecules that initiate and mediate the life-sustaining redox signaling pathways throughout all the cells and tissues of our body…

If you are interested in looking up scientific literature in the field of redox signaling, you probably will not find any direct reference under the name of “redox signaling molecules”. I have taken some literary license to create descriptive names – such as “semaphores”, “reductants” and “redox signaling molecules” – that are not commonly used in scientific literature to describe such classifications of molecules. I have attempted to define these literary terms and place the scientific names in parenthesis as much as possible in this book. In order to do literature searches on this group of “redox signaling molecules”, try looking up: Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), referring to the species of molecules containing oxygen (hydrogen peroxide, superoxide free radical, hypochlorite ion, singlet oxygen). Reactive Nitrogen Species (RNS) refers to species containing nitrogen (Nitric Oxide free radicals and other downstream nitrogen radical cascades). Of course, you can refer to each by its chemical name to get information. For example, google/scholar: “redox signaling hydrogen peroxide”. If you wish to get information on “reductants”, it would be best to search under “electron donors” or “reduced species”…There are literally hundreds of scientific articles being written on this subject every month, representing thousands of months of scientific effort across the world. It is truly marvelous to be living in this day and age where knowledge gained from everywhere in the world is almost instantaneously accessible by anyone with a true desire to know.

Possibly even more important than finding the appropriate vocabulary to express the scientific concepts, the potential applications for these emerging technologies in the health science fields need to find adequate expression. Since redox signaling is active in every cell and tissue, the potential health care applications are universal to all forms of life, cells, tissues, organs, and systems. The cardiovascular system, endocrine system, nervous system, digestive, and excretory systems all heavily rely on these redox signaling pathways to carry out their daily business. The innate immune system requires redox signaling almost more than any other system to detect areas of cellular damage, to assess the situation, to kill the microbes, to shut down damaged cells, and to stimulate regeneration of tissue…

One of the first things that drew me into study the field of redox signaling was the realization that the immune system kills bacteria and viruses almost exclusively by shooting them with an “oxidative burst” containing a composition of many of the redox signaling molecules I was studying. This was of interest to me. Certainly the primary weapon of the immune system must be completely effective against all types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that exist; otherwise, we would all be subject to mass extinction. The oxidative burst used by the immune system to kill all types of microbes and parasites is a combination of superoxide free radicals (O2*-), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and hypochlorite ions (OCl-). These molecules should be somewhat familiar to us at this point. So, at the very least, one possible application of this technology would be to develop an extremely effective and safe disinfectant. Such a disinfectant would use the same “technology” that is used in the immune system to kill microbes and yet be harmless to healthy normal cells….This “redox disinfectant” would be safe and effective for all types of tissues on all such types of multi-cellular life…

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