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J Biol Chem. 1992 Apr 25;267(12):8319-24.

Oxidation of hydroquinone by myeloperoxidase. Mechanism of stimulation by benzoquinone.

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Department of Pathology, Christchurch School of Medicine, New Zealand.


Myeloperoxidase (MPO) is a prime candidate for mediating the inflammatory tissue damage of neutrophils because it converts Cl- to the potent oxidant hypochlorous acid. It also oxidizes xenobiotics to reactive free radicals. We have found that the kinetics of oxidation of hydroquinone by myeloperoxidase are inadequately explained by the classical peroxidase mechanism. Peroxidation of hydroquinone displayed a distinct lag phase, which was practically abolished by excluding O2 and was eliminated by adding benzoquinone at the start of the reaction. Superoxide dismutase increased the rate of peroxidation by 40% but did not eliminate the lag phase. Spectral investigations revealed that during the initial phase of the reaction, MPO was converted to oxy-MPO, or compound III, by a mechanism that was not reliant on superoxide. Benzosemiquinone, however, was able to convert ferric-MPO to compound III. Both compound III and ferro-MPO reacted with benzoquinone to regenerate ferric-MPO. We propose that the lag phase occurs because benzosemiquinone reduces ferric-MPO to ferro-MPO, which rapidly binds O2 to form compound III. Since compound III is outside the peroxidation cycle, conversion of hydroquinone to benzoquinone is retarded. However, as benzoquinone accumulates, it oxidizes ferro-MPO and compound III to ferric-MPO, thereby increasing the rate of peroxidation. There is a minimal lag phase under an atmosphere of N2 because ferro-MPO would be rapidly oxidized by benzoquinone, without formation of compound III. We conclude that when substrates produce radicals capable of reducing ferric-MPO, they will be peroxidized efficiently only if oxy-MPO is readily recycled. Furthermore, these radicals will prevent MP3+ from reacting with H2O2, and thereby prevent the enzyme from oxidizing Cl- to hypochlorous acid. Thus, this mechanism could be exploited to prevent hypochlorous acid-mediated inflammatory tissue damage.

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