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J Clin Invest. 1990 Dec;86(6):1991-8.

Malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxynonenal protein adducts in plasma and liver of rats with iron overload.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Diego, California.


In hepatic iron overload, iron-catalyzed lipid peroxidation has been implicated in the mechanisms of hepatocellular injury. Lipid peroxidation may produce reactive aldehydes such as malondialdehyde (MDA) and 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), which may form aldehyde-protein adducts. We investigated whether lipid peroxidation occurred in rats fed a diet containing 3% carbonyl iron for 5-13 wk, and if this resulted in the formation of MDA- and 4-HNE- protein adducts. Chronic iron feeding resulted in hepatic iron overload (greater than 10-fold) and concomitantly induced a 2-fold increase in hepatic lipid peroxidation. Using an antiserum specific for MDA-lysine protein adducts, we demonstrated by immunohistochemistry the presence of aldehyde-protein adducts in the cytosol of periportal hepatocytes, which co-localized with iron. In addition, MDA- and 4-HNE-lysine adducts were found in plasma proteins of animals with iron overload. Only MDA adducts were detected in albumin, while other plasma proteins including a approximately 120-kD protein had both MDA and 4-HNE adducts. In this animal model of hepatic iron overload, injury occurs primarily in periportal hepatocytes, where MDA-lysine protein adducts and excess iron co-localized.

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