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

M. Aktar Ali, Tetsuya Konishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 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 - 1998


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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