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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2013, Article ID 957054, 10 pages
Review Article

Oxidative Stress and Antioxidant Activity in Hypothermia and Rewarming: Can RONS Modulate the Beneficial Effects of Therapeutic Hypothermia?

Departament de Fisiologia i Immunologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Avenida Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona, Spain

Received 25 March 2013; Accepted 21 October 2013

Academic Editor: Honglian Shi

Copyright © 2013 Norma Alva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hypothermia is a condition in which core temperature drops below the level necessary to maintain bodily functions. The decrease in temperature may disrupt some physiological systems of the body, including alterations in microcirculation and reduction of oxygen supply to tissues. The lack of oxygen can induce the generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen free radicals (RONS), followed by oxidative stress, and finally, apoptosis and/or necrosis. Furthermore, since the hypothermia is inevitably followed by a rewarming process, we should also consider its effects. Despite hypothermia and rewarming inducing injury, many benefits of hypothermia have been demonstrated when used to preserve brain, cardiac, hepatic, and intestinal function against ischemic injury. This review gives an overview of the effects of hypothermia and rewarming on the oxidant/antioxidant balance and provides hypothesis for the role of reactive oxygen species in therapeutic hypothermia.