Enhancement of hydroxyl radical generation in the Fenton reaction by alpha-hydroxy acid

M. Aktar Ali, Tetsuya Konishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


The effect of various organic acids on hydroxyl radical (·OH) generation in the Fenton reaction were examined by the ESR spin trapping technique, where 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyroline-N-nitroxide (DMPO) and α-phenyl-tert-butyl nitrone (PBN) were used as the spin trapping reagents. α-Hydroxy acids such as lactic acid, glycolic acid and 2-hydroxy isobutyric acid were found to markedly enhance ·OH generation in the reaction. In contrast, β-hydroxy acid, α-keto acid, esters of α-hydroxy acids, aldehydes and other straight chain organic acids had no such enhancing activity. α-Amino acids had also no enhancing effect. The results suggest that the α-hydroxy acid moiety is prerequisite for the enhancement of ·OH generation in the Fenton reaction. Superoxide dismutase did not inhibit the enhancing effect of α-hydroxy acids whereas catalase completely inhibited the ·OH generation. Thus, α-hydroxy acids directly enhanced the ·OH generation via the Fenton reaction but not the Haber-Weiss reaction. Possible role of lactic acid manipulating ·OH generation is discussed in relation to the ischemia-reperfusion cell damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemistry and Molecular Biology International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 28 1998


  • ESR spin trapping
  • Fenton reaction
  • Hydroxyl radical
  • α-Hydroxy acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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