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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Absence of xanthine oxidoreductase activity in human myocardium.

STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to examine whether or not xanthine oxidase activity may be a significant source of oxygen derived free radicals in the human heart. DESIGN--Xanthine oxidoreductase activity of human myocardium was assayed in vitro. In addition, tests were performed to assess whether or not endogenous inhibitors of the enzyme were present in myocardial homogenates. The enzyme assay was based on high performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical and/or radiochemical detection of hypoxanthine, xanthine, and urate. SUBJECTS--Measurements were done on (a) isolated perfused rat myocardia and (b) left ventricular needle biopsies and papillary muscles obtained during elective cardiac surgery (chiefly aortic and/or mitral valve replacement and aortocoronary bypass) (n = 105 patients). MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Homogenisation of human papillary muscles in buffer caused significant accumulation of hypoxanthine but not xanthine or urate. In addition, during incubation of crude myocardial homogenates with exogenous xanthine or hypoxanthine in the presence of NAD+ and/or O2 no production of urate was detected. Likewise, following aerobic incubation of papillary muscle homogenates with 14C-hypoxanthine neither 14C-xanthine nor 14C-urate were formed. Absence of xanthine oxidising activity was also observed with human papillary muscle extracts that were subjected to either ultrafiltration or gel filtration. In contrast, the rat heart was found to contain abundant xanthine oxidoreductase activity. The rat heart enzyme was inhibited by both allopurinol and oxypurinol but remained active when mixed with human papillary muscle homogenates. CONCLUSIONS--These findings show absence of xanthine oxidase and xanthine dehydrogenase activities in human myocardium, indicating that xanthine oxidase is not a source of oxygen derived free radicals in the human heart.[1]


  1. Absence of xanthine oxidoreductase activity in human myocardium. Podzuweit, T., Beck, H., Müller, A., Bader, R., Görlach, G., Scheld, H.H. Cardiovasc. Res. (1991) [Pubmed]
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