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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2002 Aug-Sep;67(2-3):151-62.

Do changes in the cell membrane structure induce the generation of lipid peroxidation products which serve as first signalling molecules in cell to cell communication?

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  • 1Lehrstuhl Organische Chemie 1, Universit├Ąt Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany.


Evidence is presented that mammalian and plant cells respond equally to any event which changes their cell membrane structure. Proliferation, wounding or aging induces generation of lipidhydroperoxides from cell wall phospholipids. These are transformed to signalling compounds, some of these induce apoptosis. If the exerted impact exceeds a certain level, the original enzymic reaction switches to a non-enzymic one which produces peroxylradicals. The latter are not liberated enzymically. Peroxylradicals generate a second set of signalling compounds, but cause also severe damage: they epoxidize double bonds, and oxidize proteins, sugars and nucleic acids. Such reactions occur in all inflammatory diseases. Lipidhydoperoxides and their degradation products are incorporated in fat. Apparently, these compounds are transferred partly to LDL. Such LDL is still recognized by the cell LDL receptor. Toxic lipid peroxidation products are therefore introduced into cells and might be able to damage cells from inside long before the typical signs of atherosclerosis and other chronic diseases become visible.

Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.

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