PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW - To summarize recent evidence supporting the use of reactive carbonyl species scavengers in the prevention and treatment of disease.
RECENT FINDINGS - The newly developed 2-aminomethylphenol class of scavengers shows great promise in preclinical trials for a number of diverse conditions including neurodegenerative diseases and cardiovascular disease. In addition, new studies with the thiol-based and imidazole-based scavengers have found new applications outside of adjunctive therapy for chemotherapeutics.
SUMMARY - Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by cells and tissues act as signaling molecules and as cytotoxic agents to defend against pathogens, but ROS also cause collateral damage to vital cellular components. The polyunsaturated fatty acyl chains of phospholipids in the cell membranes are particularly vulnerable to damaging peroxidation by ROS. Evidence suggests that the breakdown of these peroxidized lipids to reactive carbonyls species plays a critical role in many chronic diseases. Antioxidants that abrogate ROS-induced formation of reactive carbonyl species also abrogate normal ROS signaling and thus exert both beneficial and adverse functional effects. The use of scavengers of reactive dicarbonyl species represent an alternative therapeutic strategy to potentially mitigate the adverse effects of ROS without abrogating normal signaling by ROS. In this review, we focus on three classes of reactive carbonyl species scavengers: thiol-based scavengers (2-mercaptoethanesulfonate and amifostine), imidazole-based scavengers (carnosine and its analogs), and 2-aminomethylphenols-based scavengers (pyridoxamine, 2-hydroxybenzylamine, and 5'--pentyl-pyridoxamine) that are either undergoing pre-clinical studies, advancing to clinical trials, or are already in clinical use.