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J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2010 Nov;47(3):181-90. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.09-112. Epub 2010 Sep 16.

Structure Effect on Antioxidant Activity of Catecholamines toward Singlet Oxygen and Other Reactive Oxygen Species in vitro.

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  • 1School of Natural System, College of Science and Engineering, Kanazawa University, Kakuma-machi, Kanazawa 920-1192, Japan.


The reactivity of catecholamine neurotransmitters and the related metabolites were precisely investigated toward 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals and reactive oxygen species. Catecholamines reacted immediately with DPPH radicals, their reactivity being stronger than that of ascorbic acid as a reference. Superoxide scavenging activities of catecholamines determined by WST-1 and electron spin resonance (ESR) spin trapping methods were also high. Whereas tyrosine, the dopamine precursor showed no reactivity toward superoxide. The reactivity toward singlet oxygen was evaluated by observing specific photon emission from singlet oxygen. The results revealed that reactivity of catecholamines was markedly higher than that of sodium azide, and catechin as catechol reference. The reaction of catecholamines and singlet oxygen was further studied by ESR using 55-dimethyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide (DMPO) as a spin trapping reagent and rose bengal as photosensitizer. DMPO-OH signal of epinephrine was significantly small compared to other catecholamines, catechin, and 4-methylcatechol as a reference compound and was as small as that of tyrosine. The signal formation was totally dependent on singlet oxygen, and the presence of catechol compounds. These results indicated that epinephrine is the most potent singlet oxygen quencher than other catecholamines, and the secondary amino group in its alkyl side chain could play a role in unique singlet oxygen quenching property of epinephrine.


ROS; catecholamine; chemiluminescence; neurotransmitters; singlet oxygen

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