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Free Radic Biol Med. 2019 Feb 25;135:210-215. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2019.02.026. [Epub ahead of print]

Carbon dioxide-catalyzed peroxynitrite reactivity - The resilience of the radical mechanism after two decades of research.

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Departamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Química, Universidade de São Paulo, BR-05508-000, São Paulo, Brazil. Electronic address:
Chemistry Institute, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 91904, Israel. Electronic address:
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 97331, USA. Electronic address:
School of Chemistry, Royal Institute of Technology, S-10044, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address:
Chemistry Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY, 11973, USA. Electronic address:
School of Chemistry, Royal Institute of Technology, S-10044, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address:
Departamento de Bioquímica and Center for Free Radical and Biomedical Research, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la República, 11800, Montevideo, Uruguay. Electronic address:


Peroxynitrite, ONOO-, formed in tissues that are simultaneously generating NO and O2•-, is widely regarded as a major contributor to oxidative stress. Many of the reactions involved are catalyzed by CO2 via formation of an unstable adduct, ONOOC(O)O-, that undergoes O-O bond homolysis to produce NO2 and CO3•- radicals, whose yields are equal at about 0.33 with respect to the ONOO- reactant. Since its inception two decades ago, this radical-based mechanism has been frequently but unsuccessfully challenged. The most recent among these [Serrano-Luginbuehl et al. Chem. Res. Toxicol.31:721-730; 2018] claims that ONOOC(O)O- is stable, predicts a yield of NO2/CO3•- of less than 0.01 under physiological conditions and, contrary to widely accepted viewpoints, suggests that radical generation is inconsequential to peroxynitrite-induced oxidative damage. Here we review the experimental and theoretical evidence that support the radical model and show this recently proposed alternative mechanism to be incorrect.

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