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Free Radic Biol Med. 2011 May 1;50(9):1163-70. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.02.001. Epub 2011 Mar 4.

Characterization of free radicals formed from COX-catalyzed DGLA peroxidation.

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Department of Analytical Chemistry, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China.


Like arachidonic acid (AA), dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA) is a 20-carbon ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid and a substrate of cyclooxygenase (COX). Through free radical reactions, COX metabolizes DGLA and AA to form well-known bioactive metabolites, namely, the 1 and 2 series of prostaglandins (PGs1 and PGs2), respectively. Unlike PGs2, which are viewed as proinflammatory, PGs1 possess anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities. However, the mechanisms linking the PGs to their bioactivities are still unclear, and radicals generated in COX-DGLA have not been detected. To better understand PG biology and determine whether different reactions occur in COX-DGLA and COX-AA, we have used LC/ESR/MS with a spin trap, α-(4-pyridyl-1-oxide)-N-tert-butyl nitrone (POBN), to characterize the carbon-centered radicals formed from COX-DGLA in vitro, including cellular peroxidation. A total of five types of DGLA-derived radicals were characterized as POBN adducts: m/z 266, m/z 296, and m/z 550 (same as or similar to COX-AA) and m/z 324 and m/z 354 (exclusively from COX-DGLA). Our results suggest that C-15 oxygenation to form PGGs occurs in both COX-DGLA and COX-AA; however, C-8 oxygenation occurs exclusively in COX-DGLA. This new finding will be further investigated for its association with various bioactivities of PGs, with potential implications for inflammatory diseases.

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