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J Biol Chem. 1986 Jun 5;261(16):7127-35.

Inhibition of human leukocyte 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase activity by ascorbic acid. An effect mediated by the free radical monodehydroascorbate.


3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase activity in microsomes isolated from cultured lymphoid (IM-9) cells or freshly isolated human leukocytes was markedly decreased by either ascorbic acid or its oxidized derivative, dehydroascorbate. Inhibition of IM-9 leukocyte HMG-CoA reductase activity was log linear between 0.01 and 10 mM ascorbic acid (25 and 81% inhibition, respectively) and 0.1 and 10 mM dehydroascorbate (5 and 75% inhibition, respectively). Inhibition was noncompetitive with respect to HMG-CoA (Km = 10.2 microM (RS); ascorbic acid, Ki = 6.4 mM; dehydroascorbate, Ki = 15 mM) and competitive with respect to NADPH (Km = 16.3 microM; acetic acid, Ki = 6.3 mM; dehydroascorbate, Ki = 3.1 mM). Ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbate are interconverted through the free radical intermediate monodehydroascorbate. Reducing agents are required to convert dehydroascorbate to monodehydroascorbate, but prevent formation of the free radical from ascorbate. In microsomes from IM-9 cells, the reducing agent, dithiothreitol, abolished HMG-CoA reductase inhibition by ascorbate but enhanced inhibition by dehydroascorbate. In addition, the concentration of monodehydroascorbate present in ascorbate solutions was directly proportional to the degree of HMG-CoA reductase inhibition by 1.0 mM ascorbate. Fifty per cent inhibition of enzyme activity occurred at a monodehydroascorbate concentration of 14 microM. These data indicate that monodehydroascorbate mediates inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase by both ascorbate and dehydroascorbate. This effect does not appear to be due to free radical-induced membrane lipid modification, however, since both ascorbate and dehydroascorbate inhibited the protease-solubilized, partially purified human liver enzyme. Since inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase occurs at physiological concentrations of ascorbic acid in the human leukocyte (0.2-1.72 mM), this vitamin may be important in the regulation of endogenous cholesterol synthesis in man.

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