Antioxidant therapies: A potential role in perinatal medicine

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Pregnancies complicated by impaired placentation, acute severe reductions in oxygen supply to the fetus, or intrauterine infection are associated with oxidative stress to the mother and developing baby. Such oxidative stress is characterized as an upregulation in the production of oxidative or nitrative free radicals and a concomitant decrease in the availability of antioxidant species, thereby creating a state of fetoplacental oxidative imbalance. Recently, there has been a good deal of interest in the potential for the use of antioxidant therapies in the perinatal period to protect the fetus, particularly the developing brain, against oxidative stress in complications of pregnancy and birth. This review will examine why the immature brain is particularly susceptible to oxidative imbalance and will provide discussion on antioxidant treatments currently receiving attention in the adult and perinatal literature - allopurinol, melatonin, alpha-lipoic acid, and vitamins C and E. In addition, we aim to address the interaction between oxidative stress and the fetal inflammatory response, an interaction that may be vital when proposing antioxidant or other neuroprotective strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13 - 23
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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