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Mol Aspects Med. 1997;18 Suppl:S7-13.

Role of cytochrome b5 reductase on the antioxidant function of coenzyme Q in the plasma membrane.

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Departamento de Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Córdoba, Spain.


Cytochrome b5 reductase purified from liver plasma membrane reduces coenzyme Q (CoQ) in reconstituted liposomes in the absence of cytochrome b5. Both CoQ and its reductase are responsible for the reduction of the ascorbate free radical at the cell surface. Thus, NADH-CoQ reductase represents a partial reaction of NADH-AFR reductase in the plasma membrane. Cytochrome b5 reductase maintains CoQ and ascorbate in their reduced state to support antioxidations. Reduced CoQ prevents lipid peroxidation in liposomes and plasma membranes. Also, oxidized CoQ can prevent lipid peroxidations in the presence of cytochrome b5 reductase and NADH. Addition of CoQ to intact cells prevents serum withdrawal-induced lipid peroxidation and apoptosis. The prevention of apoptosis by CoQ is independent of the bcl-2 protein content in the cell. Antioxidants that act at the plasma membrane as CoQ and ascorbate would represent a first barrier to protect lipids from oxidative stress and subsequent apoptosis. Cytochrome b5 reductase is then an enzyme leading this function at the plasma membrane. These data support the idea that when the plasma membrane barrier fails, bcl-2 protein would be required to prevent cell death.

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