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Curr Med Chem. 2014;21(32):3636-45.

Physiological effect and therapeutic application of alpha lipoic acid.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, 130 Dongdukro, Jung-gu, Daegu, Republic of Korea, 700-721.


Reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species promote endothelial dysfunction in old age and contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and hypertension. α-Lipoic acid was identified as a catalytic agent for oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate and α-ketoglutarate in 1951, and it has been studied intensively by chemists, biologists, and clinicians who have been interested in its role in energetic metabolism and protection from reactive oxygen species-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. Consequently, many biological effects of α-lipoic acid supplementation can be attributed to the potent antioxidant properties of α-lipoic acid and dihydro α-lipoic acid. The reducing environments inside the cell help to protect from oxidative damage and the reduction-oxidation status of α-lipoic acid is dependent upon the degree to which the cellular components are found in the oxidized state. Although healthy young humans can synthesize enough α-lipoic acid to scavenge reactive oxygen species and enhance endogenous antioxidants like glutathione and vitamins C and E, the level of α-lipoic acid significantly declines with age and this may lead to endothelial dysfunction. Furthermore, many studies have reported α-lipoic acid can regulate the transcription of genes associated with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory pathways. In this review, we will discuss recent clinical studies that have investigated the beneficial effects of α-lipoic acid on endothelial dysfunction and propose possible mechanisms involved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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