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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2015, Article ID 358713, 8 pages
Review Article

Role of Oxidative RNA Damage in Chronic-Degenerative Diseases

Department for Life Quality Studies, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, 47921 Rimini, Italy

Received 8 December 2014; Revised 20 April 2015; Accepted 21 April 2015

Academic Editor: Mark J. Crabtree

Copyright © 2015 Carmela Fimognari. 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.


Normal cellular metabolism and exposure to ionizing and ultraviolet radiations and exogenous agents produce reactive oxygen species (ROS). Due to their reactivity, they can interact with many critical biomolecules and induce cell damage. The reaction of ROS with free nucleobases, nucleosides, nucleotides, or oligonucleotides can generate numerous distinct modifications in nucleic acids. Oxidative damage to DNA has been widely investigated and is strongly implicated in the development of many chronic-degenerative diseases. In contrast, RNA damage is a poorly examined field in biomedical research. In this review, I discuss the importance of RNA as a target of oxidative damage and the role of oxidative damage to RNA in the pathogenesis of some chronic-degenerative diseases, such as neurological disorders, atherosclerosis, and cancer. Furthermore, I review recent evidence suggesting that RNA may be the target for toxic agents and indicating RNA degradation as a powerful tool to treat any pathology in which there is an aberrant expression of mRNA and/or its gene products.