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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Dec 15;1524(2-3):162-70.

Enhanced oxidative damage by the familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-associated Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase mutants.

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Department of Genetic Engineering, Division of Natural Sciences, Chongju University, 360-764, Chongju, South Korea.


Some cases of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS), a degenerative disorder of motor neurons, is associated with mutation in the Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD) gene SOD1. The purified FALS mutant and wild-type Cu,Zn-SODs expressed in Escherichia coli cells have identical dismutation activity whereas the hydroxyl radical formation of FALS mutants was enhanced relative to that of the wild-type enzyme. These higher free radical-generating activities of mutants facilitated the release of copper ions from their own molecules. The reaction of the mutants with hydrogen peroxide enhanced DNA strand breaks and lipid peroxidation. The results suggested that the enhanced oxidative damage of macromolecules is mediated in the Cu,Zn-SOD mutants and hydrogen peroxide system via the generation of hydroxyl radicals by a combination of the higher free radical-generating activities of mutants and a Fenton-like reaction of copper ions released from oxidatively damaged Cu,Zn-SODs. Carnosine has been proposed to act as antioxidant in vivo. We investigated whether carnosine could protect the oxidative damage induced by FALS mutants. Carnosine effectively inhibited the DNA cleavage and lipid peroxidation. These results suggest that the higher free radical-generating function of FALS mutants can lead to increased oxidative damage of macromolecules which further implicates free radical-mediated motor neuronal injury in the pathogenesis of FALS and carnosine may be explored as potential therapeutic agents for FALS patients.

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