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Free Radic Res. 2009 Jan;43(1):4-12. doi: 10.1080/10715760802582183.

Antioxidant properties of MitoTEMPOL and its hydroxylamine.

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MRC Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, Cambridge, UK.


Piperidine nitroxides such as TEMPOL have been widely used as antioxidants in vitro and in vivo. MitoTEMPOL is a mitochondria-targeted derivative of TEMPOL designed to protect mitochondria from the oxidative damage that they accumulate, but once there is rapidly reduced to its hydroxylamine, MitoTEMPOL-H. As little is known about the antioxidant efficacy of hydroxylamines, this study has assessed the antioxidant activity of both MitoTEMPOL and MitoTEMPOL-H. The hydroxylamine was more effective at preventing lipid-peroxidation than MitoTEMPOL and decreased oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA caused by menadione. In contrast to MitoTEMPOL, MitoTEMPOL-H has no superoxide dismutase activity and its antioxidant actions are likely to be mediated by hydrogen atom donation. Therefore, even though MitoTEMPOL is rapidly reduced to MitoTEMPOL-H in cells, it remains an effective antioxidant. Furthermore, as TEMPOL is also reduced to a hydroxylamine in vivo, many of its antioxidant effects may also be mediated by its hydroxylamine.

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