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Biochemistry. 1990 Mar 20;29(11):2802-7.

Biologically active metal-independent superoxide dismutase mimics.

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Radiation Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is an enzyme that detoxifies superoxide (O2.-), a potentially toxic oxygen-derived species. Attempts to increase intracellular concentrations of SOD by direct application are complicated because SOD, being a relatively large molecule, does not readily cross cell membranes. We have identified a set of stable nitroxides that possess SOD-like activity, have the advantage of being low molecular weight, membrane permeable, and metal independent, and at pH 7.0 have reaction rate constants with O2.- ranging from 1.1 x 10(3) to 1.3 x 10(6) M-1 s-1. These SOD mimics protect mammalian cells from damage induced by hypoxanthine/xanthine oxidase and H2O2, although they exhibit no catalase-like activity. In addition, the nitroxide SOD mimics rapidly oxidize DNA-FeII and thus may interrupt the Fenton reaction and prevent formation of deleterious OH radicals and/or higher oxidation states of metal ions. Whether by SOD-like activity and/or interception of an electron from redox-active metal ions they protect cells from oxidative stress and may have use in basic and applied biological studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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