Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the closely related reactive nitrogen species (RNS) are often generated in applications of atmospheric pressure plasmas intended for biomedical purposes. These species are also central players in what is sometimes referred to as redox or oxidationreduction biology. Oxidationreduction biochemistry is fundamental to all of aerobic biology. ROS and RNS are perhaps best known as disease-associated agents, implicated in diabetes, cancer, heart and lung disease, autoimmune disease and a host of other maladies including ageing and various infectious diseases. These species are also known to play active roles in the immune systems of both animals and plants and are key signalling molecules, among many other important roles. Indeed, the latest research has shown that ROS/RNS play a much more complex and nuanced role in health and ageing than previously thought. Some of the most potentially profound therapeutic roles played by ROS and RNS in various medical interventions have emerged only in the last several years. Recent research suggests that ROS/RNS are significant and perhaps even central actors in the actions of antimicrobial and anti-parasite drugs, cancer therapies, wound healing therapies and therapies involving the cardiovascular system. Understanding the ways ROS/RNS act in established therapies may help guide future efforts in exploiting novel plasma medical therapies. The importance of ROS and RNS to plant biology has been relatively little appreciated in the plasma biomedicine community, but these species are just as important in plants. It appears that there are opportunities for useful applications of plasmas in this area as well.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films