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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1983 Mar 29;111(3):980-7.

The production of activated oxygen species by an interaction of methemoglobin with ascorbate.


Ascorbate reacts with methemoglobin to produce reactive oxygen species, most probably hydroxyl radicals. The main features of this system are: a) disappearance of ascorbate; b) consumption of oxygen with an ascorbate/O2 stoichiometry of 2:1; c) requirement of unliganded heme iron; d) formation of H2O2. The proposed mechanism involves an ascorbate-mediated interconversion of methemoglobin and oxy-hemoglobin, resulting in the production of H2O2. This product is decomposed by hemoglobin to produce hydroxyl radicals according to a Fenton-like reaction in which ascorbate recycles methemoglobin to hemoglobin. Alternative pathways of formation and of decomposition of H2O2 in this system appear to play a minor role.

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