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J Biol Chem. 2008 Jan 4;283(1):6-16. Epub 2007 Oct 6.

Neurofurans, novel indices of oxidant stress derived from docosahexaenoic acid.

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  • 1Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Isoeicosanoids are free radical-catalyzed isomers of the enzymatic products of arachidonic acid. They are formed in situ in cell membranes, are cleaved, circulate, and are excreted in urine. Isomers of prostaglandin F(2alpha), the F(2)-isoprostanes, have emerged as sensitive indices of lipid peroxidation in vivo. Analogous compounds formed from docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are termed neuroprostanes and are more abundant than isoprostanes (iPs) in brain. Isofurans are another class of isoeicosanoids characterized by a substituted tetrahydrofuran ring. They are preferentially formed, relative to iPs, under conditions of elevated oxygen tension. Here, we report the discovery of neurofurans (nFs), the analogous family of compounds formed from DHA. Formation of nFs is characterized by mass spectrometry and confirmed by oxidation of DHA in vitro and following CCl(4) administration in liver in vivo. It is demonstrated that the levels of nFs are elevated in the brain cortex of a mouse model of Alzheimer disease and are depressed in mouse brain cortex by deletion of p47(phox), an essential component of the phagocyte NADPH oxidase. Measurement of the nFs may ultimately prove useful in diagnosis, timing, and selection of dose in the treatment and chemoprevention of neurodegenerative disease.

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