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Free Radic Biol Med. 2003 Apr 1;34(7):881-91.

Vitamin C protects low-density lipoprotein from homocysteine-mediated oxidation.

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Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Midwestern University, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA.


Homocysteine, an atherogenic amino acid, promotes iron-dependent oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). We investigated whether vitamin C, a physiological antioxidant, could protect LDL from homocysteine-mediated oxidation. LDL (0.2 mg of protein/ml) was incubated at 37 degrees C with homocysteine (1000 microM) and ferric iron (10-100 microM) in either the absence (control) or presence of vitamin C (5-250 microM). Under these conditions, vitamin C protected LDL from oxidation as evidenced by an increased lag time preceding lipid diene formation (> or = 5 vs. 2.5 h for control), decreased thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances accumulation (< or = 19 +/- 1 nmol/mg when vitamin C > or = 10 microM vs. 32 +/- 3 nmol/mg for control, p <.01), and decreased lipoprotein anodic electrophoretic mobility. Near-maximal protection was observed at vitamin C concentrations similar to those in human blood (50-100 microM); also, some protection was observed even at low concentrations (5-10 microM). This effect resulted neither from altered iron redox chemistry nor enhanced recycling of vitamin E in LDL. Instead, similar to previous reports for copper-dependent LDL oxidation, we found that vitamin C protected LDL from homocysteine-mediated oxidation through covalent lipoprotein modification involving dehydroascorbic acid. Protection of LDL from homocysteine-mediated oxidation by vitamin C may have implications for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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