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Chem Phys Lipids. 1987 Jul-Sep;44(2-4):255-76.

The role of selenium peroxidases in the protection against oxidative damage of membranes.

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Institute of Biological Chemistry, University of Padova, Italy.


The present review deals with the chemical properties of selenium in relation to its antioxidant properties and its reactivity in biological systems. The interaction of selenite with thiols and glutathione and the reactivity of selenocompounds with hydroperoxides are described. After a short survey on distribution, metabolism and organification of selenium, the role of this element as a component of the two seleno-dependent glutathione peroxidases is described. The main features of glutathione peroxidase and phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase are also reviewed. Both enzymes reduce different hydroperoxides to the corresponding alcohols and the major difference is the reduction of lipid hydroperoxides in membrane matrix catalyzed only by the phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase. However, in spite of the different specificity for the peroxidic substrates, the kinetic mechanism of both glutathione peroxidase and phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase seems identical and proceeds through a tert-uni ping pong mechanism. In the reaction cycle, indeed, as supported by the kinetic data, the oxidation of the ionized selenol by the hydroperoxide yields a selenenic acid that in turn is reduced back by two reactions with reduced glutathione. Special emphasis has been given to the role of selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidases in the prevention of membrane lipid peroxidation. While glutathione peroxidase is able to reduce hydrogen peroxide and other hydroperoxides possibly present in the soluble compartment of the cell, this enzyme fails to inhibit microsomal lipid peroxidation induced by NADPH or ascorbate and iron complexes. On the other hand, phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase, by reducing the phospholipid hydroperoxides in the membranes, actively prevents lipid peroxidation, provided a normal content of vitamin E is present in the membranes. In fact, by preventing the free radical generation from lipid hydroperoxides, phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase decreases the vitamin E requirement necessary to inhibit lipid peroxidation. Finally, the possible regulatory role of the selenoperoxidases on the arachidonic acid cascade enzymes (cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase) is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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