What is alkali burn?

An alkali burn, also known as an alkaline chemical burn, occurs when a strong alkaline substance comes into contact with the skin, eyes, or other tissues of the body, leading to tissue damage. Alkalis are substances with a pH greater than 7, and they can cause severe damage upon contact due to their corrosive nature.


Alkali burns are often caused by chemicals such as lye (sodium hydroxide), ammonia, lime, or caustic soda. These substances can be found in cleaning agents, industrial products, or certain household items. When these chemicals come into contact with the skin or mucous membranes, they can penetrate deeply into the tissues, causing extensive damage.


The severity of an alkali burn depends on various factors, including the concentration and duration of exposure, as well as the affected area of the body. Alkalis can cause liquefactive necrosis, meaning they destroy cells and tissues by breaking down proteins and other cellular components.


What is the relationship between alkali burn and oxidative stress?

The relationship between alkali burns and oxidative stress lies in the cellular damage caused by the corrosive nature of alkaline substances. When alkali chemicals come into contact with tissues, they induce a cascade of inflammatory responses and cellular damage, leading to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress.


During an alkali burn, the affected tissues undergo oxidative damage due to the generation of ROS, including superoxide radicals, hydrogen peroxide, and hydroxyl radicals. These reactive molecules can directly damage cellular components such as lipids, proteins, and DNA, leading to cell death and tissue injury.


Oxidative stress exacerbates the inflammatory response initiated by the alkali exposure, further amplifying tissue damage and impairing the body’s ability to repair itself. Additionally, oxidative stress can contribute to the activation of signaling pathways involved in inflammation and tissue repair, prolonging the inflammatory process and hindering healing.


In summary, alkali burns induce oxidative stress through the generation of reactive oxygen species, which play a significant role in the pathophysiology of tissue damage and inflammation associated with these types of injuries. Minimizing oxidative stress and supporting antioxidant defense mechanisms may be important therapeutic strategies in the management of alkali burns.