Role of haeme oxygenase-1 in resolution of oxidative stress-related pathologies: Focus on cardiovascular, lung, neurological and kidney disorders

D. D. Haines, I. Lekli, P. Teissier, I. Bak, A. Tosaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

87 Citations (Scopus)


The present review examines the role of the cytoprotective enzyme haeme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in adaptive responses to inflammatory disease and explores strategies for its clinical use, with particular emphasis on use of therapeutic use of the enzyme using phytochemical inducers of HO-1 such as extracts of Ginkgo biloba, curcumin, and flavonoids extracted from seeds of the sour cherry (Prunus cerasus). This laboratory has identified strategies by which combinations of dietary phytochemicals may be configured to synergistically strengthen immunoregulatory mechanisms that normally prevent inflammation from leading to disease. A major focus of this research initiative has been HO-1, which is capable of substantially reducing oxidative stress by several mechanisms. HO-1 metabolizes haeme that accumulates in tissues because of red blood cell turnover. Two products of this degradation - carbon monoxide (CO) and bilirubin - have potent capacity for reducing oxidative stress and for counteracting its effects. A description will be provided of how HO-1 products maintain healthy tissue function and remediate oxidative tissue damage. This will be explored in four major organ systems, including the cardiovascular system, the lungs, the central nervous system and the kidneys. Particular focus will be given to the physiological coordination of cardiovascular functions mediated by CO produced by HO-1 and to nitric oxide (NO), a gaseous second messenger expressed by nitric oxide synthetase. A major unifying theme of the present review is an exploration of the potential use of dietary phytochemical formulations as tools for the clinical application of HO-1 in therapeutic reduction of oxidative stressors, with resultant improved treatment of inflammatory pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-501
Number of pages15
JournalActa Physiologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2012



  • Flavonoids
  • Haeme oxygenase-1
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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