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J Biol Chem. 1989 Dec 15;264(35):20968-73.

Lipid peroxyl radical intermediates in the peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids by lipoxygenase. Direct electron spin resonance investigations.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709.


Lipid peroxyl radicals resulting from the peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids by soybean lipoxygenase were directly detected by the method of rapid mixing, continuous-flow electron spin resonance spectroscopy. When air-saturated borate buffer (pH 9.0) containing linoleic acid or arachidonate acid was mixed with lipoxygenase, fatty acid-derived peroxyl free radicals were readily detected; these radicals have a characteristic g-value of 2.014. An organic free radical (g = 2.004) was also detected; this may be the carbon-centered fatty acid free radical that is the precursor of the peroxyl free radical. The ESR spectrum of this species was not resolved, so the identification of this free radical was not possible. Fatty acids without at least two double bonds (e.g. stearic acid and oleic acid) did not give the corresponding peroxyl free radicals, suggesting that the formation of bisallylic carbon-centered radicals precedes peroxyl radical formation. The 3.8-G doublet feature of the fatty acid peroxyl spectrum was proven (by selective deuteration) to be a hyperfine coupling due to a gamma-hydrogen that originated as a vinylic hydrogen of arachidonate. Arachidonate peroxyl radical formation was shown to be dependent on the substrate, active lipoxygenase, and molecular oxygen. Antioxidants are known to protect polyunsaturated fatty acids from peroxidation by scavenging peroxyl radicals and thus breaking the free radical chain reaction. Therefore, the peroxyl signal intensity from micellar arachidonate solutions was monitored as a function of the antioxidant concentration. The reaction of the peroxyl free radical with Trolox C was shown to be 10 times slower than that with vitamin E. The vitamin E and Trolox C phenoxyl radicals that resulted from scavenging the peroxyl radical were also detected.

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