Circulating Leukocytes and Oxidative Stress in Cardiovascular Diseases: A State of the Art

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Increased oxidative stress from both mitochondrial and cytosolic sources contributes to the development and the progression of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), and it is a target of therapeutic interventions. The numerous efforts made over the last decades in order to develop tools able to monitor the oxidative stress level in patients affected by CVDs rely on the need to gain information on the disease state. However, this goal has not been satisfactorily accomplished until now. Among others, the isolation of circulating leukocytes to measure their oxidant level offers a valid, noninvasive challenge that has been tested in few pathological contexts, including hypertension, atherosclerosis and its clinical manifestations, and heart failure. Since leukocytes circulate in the blood stream, it is expected that they might reflect quite closely both systemic and cardiovascular oxidative stress and provide useful information on the pathological condition. The results of the studies discussed in the present review article are promising. They highlight the importance of measuring oxidative stress level in circulating mononuclear cells in different CVDs with a consistent correlation between degree of oxidative stress and severity of CVD and of its complications. Importantly, they also point to a double role of leukocytes, both as a marker of disease condition and as a direct contributor to disease progression. Finally, they show that the oxidative stress level of leukocytes reflects the impact of therapeutic interventions. It is likely that the isolation of leukocytes and the measurement of oxidative stress, once adequately developed, may represent an eligible tool for both research and clinical purposes to monitor the role of oxidative stress on the promotion and progression of CVDs, as well as the impact of therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2650429
JournalOxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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