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J Biol Chem. 1987 Jan 25;262(3):1098-104.

The requirement for iron (III) in the initiation of lipid peroxidation by iron (II) and hydrogen peroxide.


The initiation of lipid peroxidation by Fe2+ and H2O2 (Fenton's reagent) is often proposed to be mediated by the highly reactive hydroxyl radical. Using Fe2+, H2O2, and phospholipid liposomes as a model system, we have found that lipid peroxidation, as assessed by malondialdehyde formation, is not initiated by the hydroxyl radical, but rather requires Fe3+ and Fe2+. EPR spin trapping with 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide and the bleaching of para-nitrosodimethylaniline confirmed the generation of the hydroxyl radical in this system. Accordingly, catalase and the hydroxyl radical scavengers mannitol and benzoate efficiently inhibited the generation and the detection of hydroxyl radical. However, catalase, mannitol, and benzoate could either stimulate or inhibit lipid peroxidation. These unusual effects were found to be consistent with their ability to modulate the extent of Fe2+ oxidation by H2O2 and demonstrated that lipid peroxidation depends on the Fe3+:Fe2+ ratio, maximal initial rates occurring at 1:1. These studies suggest that the initiation of liposomal peroxidation by Fe2+ and H2O2 is mediated by an oxidant which requires both Fe3+ and Fe2+ and that the rate of the reaction is determined by the absolute Fe3+:Fe2+ ratio.

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