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

The involvement of iron in lipid peroxidation. Importance of ferric to ferrous ratios in initiation.

Intense lipid peroxidation of brain synaptosomes initiated with Fenton's reagent (H2O2 + Fe2+) began instantly upon addition of Fe2+ and preceded detectable OH. formation. Although mannitol or Tris partially blocked peroxidation, concentrations required were 10(3)-fold in excess of OH. actually formed, and inhibition by Tris was pH dependent. Lipid peroxidation also was initiated by either Fe2+ or Fe3+ alone, although significant lag phases (minutes) and slowed reaction rates were observed. Lag phases were dramatically reduced or nearly eliminated, and reaction rates were increased by a combination of Fe3+ and Fe2+. In this instance, lipid peroxidation initiated by optimal concentrations of H2O2 and Fe2+ could be mimicked or even surpassed by providing optimal ratios of Fe3+ to Fe2+. Peroxidation observed with Fe3+ alone was dependent upon trace amounts of contaminating Fe2+ in Fe3+ preparations. Optimal ratios of Fe3+:Fe2+ for the rapid initiation of lipid peroxidation were on order of 1:1 to 7:1. No OH. formation could be detected with this system. Although low concentrations of H2O2 or ascorbate increased lipid peroxidation by Fe2+ or Fe3+, respectively, high concentrations of H2O2 or ascorbate (in excess of iron) inhibited lipid peroxidation due to oxidative or reductive maintenance of iron exclusively in Fe2+ or Fe3+ form. Stimulation of lipid peroxidation by low concentrations of H2O2 or ascorbate was due to the oxidative or reductive creation of Fe3+:Fe2+ ratios. The data suggest that the absolute ratio of Fe3+ to Fe2+ was the primary determining factor for the initiation of lipid peroxidation reactions.[1]


  1. The involvement of iron in lipid peroxidation. Importance of ferric to ferrous ratios in initiation. Braughler, J.M., Duncan, L.A., Chase, R.L. J. Biol. Chem. (1986) [Pubmed]
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