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Clin Chem. 1991 Nov;37(11):1993-9.

Improvement of a direct spectrophotometric assay for routine determination of superoxide dismutase activity.

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Laboratory of Clinical Biochemistry, University of Bergen, Haukeland Hospital, Norway.


The growing interest in measuring superoxide dismutase (EC in many diseases calls for useful routine assays. For this purpose, the direct spectrophotometric method of Marklund (J Biol Chem 1976;251:7504-7) was improved to offer an alternative to the imprecise, indirect assays currently used. The decay of O2.- (from KO2) at pH 9.5 was monitored as the decrease in delta A (delta A = A250nm-A360nm). Superoxide dismutase was determined from the pseudo-first-order rate constant of O2.- dismutation. The precision of the assay was improved by increasing the concentration of O2.- and expanding the interval for measurements of O2.- concentrations to 4-16 mumol/L. Other assay characteristics, including temperature, were also optimized. In hemolysate the assay had a within-day CV of 5.5-13% and a between-day CV of 4%. Mn-superoxide dismutase and some superoxide dismutase mimics are inhibited at alkaline pH. Therefore, the method is primarily recommended for Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase.

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