Reactive intermediates and their toxicological significance

Terrence J. Monks, Serrine S. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Many chemicals that cause toxicity do so via metabolism to biologically reactive metabolites. However, the nature of the interaction between such reactive metabolites and various cellular components, and the mechanism(s) by which these interactions eventually lead to cell death are poorly understood. The relative importance of macromolecular alkylation (covalent binding), lipid peroxidation, alterations in thiol, calcium and energy homeostasis are discussed with reference to specific toxicants. It is concluded that the cytotoxic effects of reactive metabolites are a consequence of simultaneous and/or sequential alterations in several cellular processes. Further studies are required to determine the relationship between these alterations and cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-53
Number of pages53
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 14 1988


  • Reactive metabolites
  • Target-organ toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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