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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1999 Mar 1;363(1):148-54.

Dihydrolipoic acid maintains ubiquinone in the antioxidant active form by two-electron reduction of ubiquinone and one-electron reduction of ubisemiquinone.

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Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Veterinary University of Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, Vienna, A-1210, Austria.


Dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA) is a constituent of cellular energy metabolism, where it cycles between the oxidized and reduced form. The two thiol residues of DHLA make this biomolecule susceptible to most radical species and prevent Fenton-type reactions by chelating free iron. In this study we present a novel mode of action by which DHLA exerts antioxidant function in combination with coenzyme Q (ubiquinone). DHLA was found to reduce ubiquinone to ubiquinol by the transfer of a pair of electrons, thereby increasing the antioxidant capacity of coenzyme Q in biomembranes. In addition, ubisemiquinone, which was earlier shown to be an active oxygen radical source when existing in the anionic form, is removed from equilibrium by the addition of a single electron from DHLA. The high reactivity of DHLA with this potentially deleterious ubisemiquinone species not only prevents the formation of prooxidants, it also keeps ubiquinone in its antioxidant active form. Experimental data of this study demonstrate a superadditive effect of ubiquinone in combination with DHLA in preventing peroxidation of biomembranes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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