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FASEB J. 2001 Jul;15(9):1569-74.

NAD(P)H, a directly operating antioxidant?

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Institut f├╝r Physiologische Chemie, Universit├Ątsklinikum, Hufelandstrasse 55, D-45122 Essen, Germany.


Endogenous oxygen- and nitrogen-centered free radicals are considered to play a decisive role in a variety of diseases such as neurodegenerative disorders, atherosclerosis, or cancer. Directly operating antioxidants limit the action of freely diffusing radicals by scavenging the attacking, oxidizing radical and re-reducing the oxidized biomolecule, i.e., the biomolecule-derived radical. From textbooks of biochemistry it is understood that NAD(P)H acts as a hydride (hydrogen anion) donor in a variety of enzymatic processes. One example is the re-reduction of GSSG to GSH, catalyzed by glutathione reductase. Because of this reaction, NADPH has been suggested to also act as an indirectly operating antioxidant, thus maintaining the antioxidative power of glutathione. To the best of our knowledge, however, neither NADPH nor NADH has been considered to be directly operating antioxidants. Based on recently published data, new experiments, and theoretical considerations, we propose that NAD(P)H represents a decisive, directly operating antioxidant that should be considered of major importance in the mitochondrial compartment. NAD(P)H fulfills this task both by scavenging toxic free radicals and repairing biomolecule-derived radicals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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