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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Mar 1;88(5):1646-50.

Ubiquinol-10 protects human low density lipoprotein more efficiently against lipid peroxidation than does alpha-tocopherol.

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  • 1Heart Research Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


The temporal disappearance of natural antioxidants associated with human low density lipoprotein (LDL) in relation to the appearance of various classes of lipid hydroperoxides was investigated under three types of oxidizing conditions. Freshly isolated LDL from plasma of healthy subjects was free of detectable amounts of lipid hydroperoxides as measured by HPLC postcolumn chemiluminescence detection. Exposure of such LDL to a mild, constant flux of aqueous peroxyl radicals led to rapid and complete oxidation of ubiquinol-10, followed by slower partial depletion of lycopene, beta-carotene, and alpha-tocopherol. After an initial lag period of complete inhibition of detectable lipid peroxidation, formation of hydroperoxides of cholesterol esters, triglycerides, and phospholipids was observed. The onset of detectable lipid peroxidation corresponded closely with the completion of ubiquinol-10 consumption. However, small amounts of ascorbate, present as a contaminant in the LDL preparation, rather than ubiquinol-10 itself were responsible for the initial lag period. Thus, complete consumption of ubiquinol-10 was preceded by that of ascorbate, and exposure of ascorbate-free LDL to aqueous peroxyl radicals resulted in immediate formation of detectable amounts of lipid hydroperoxides. The rate of radical-mediated formation of lipid hydroperoxides in ascorbate-free LDL was low as long as ubiquinol-10 was present, but increased rapidly after its consumption, even though more than 80% and 95% of endogenous carotenoids and alpha-tocopherol, respectively, were still present. Qualitatively similar results were obtained when peroxyl radicals were generated within LDL or when the lipoprotein was exposed to oxidants produced by activated human polymorphonuclear leukocytes. LDL oxidation was reduced significantly by supplementing the lipoprotein preparation with physiological amounts of either ascorbate or ubiquinol-10. Our data show that ubiquinol-10 is much more efficient in inhibiting LDL oxidation than either lycopene, beta-carotene, or alpha-tocopherol.

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