Activation of the inflammatory process by Oxygen Radicals
Hydrogen peroxide is the oxygen radical that appears to have the major effect on delaying the healing process. Excess superoxide anions and hydrogen peroxide, and their oxidation products specifically peroxynitrite, produced during the inflammatory phase of an injury, will destroy healthy tissue surrounding the site and will mitigate the positive effects of Nitric Oxide, needed to kill infections. Hydrogen peroxide and other oxygen radicals, such as nitrogen dioxide and peroxynitrite also activates NF-kappa B (inflammation).
Such oxidative biochemical injury can result in the loss of cellular membrane integrity, reduced enzyme activity, changes in transport kinetics, changes in membrane lipid content, and leakage of potassium ions, amino acids, other cellular material, and the formation of excess keloid and scar formation.
Peroxynitrite ion and peroxynitrous acid, formed from the interaction of Nitric Oxide and superoxide anions, specifically hydrogen peroxide, are strong oxidant species that work against Nitric Oxide . Peroxynitrites are involved in wound injury through the production of chemokines and contribute to viral pathogenesis and they enhance viral mutations. According to epidemiological studies, the population group most susceptible to these adverse effects is small children, or older people. Even though children have increased amounts of Nitric Oxide at wound sites, there is persuasive evidence that higher levels of Nitric Oxide are decreased by the overproduction of oxygen radicals during the inflammatory process.