The Autoxidation of Tetrahydrobiopterin Revisited

Michael Kirsch, Hans-Gert Korth, Verena Stenert, Reiner Sustmann, Herbert de Groot
2003 Journal of Biological Chemistry  
It has been known for quite some time that tetrahydrobiopterin (H4B) is prone to autoxidation in the presence of molecular oxygen. Evidence has been presented that in this process superoxide radicals may be released, although their intermediacy never has been directly proven. In the present study, the autoxidation of H4B was reinvestigated with the aim to find direct evidence for superoxide formation. By means of two specific assays, namely elicitation of luminescence from lucigenin and
more » ... trometric detection of the DEPMPO-OOH radical adduct, the release of free superoxide radicals was unequivocally demonstrated. The production of superoxide radicals was further corroborated by interaction with nitric oxide. The kinetics of the autoxidation process was established. Our data fully confirm earlier conclusions that the direct reaction between H4B and oxygen serves as an initiation reaction for the further, rapid reaction of the thus formed superoxide with H4B, thereby very likely establishing a chain reaction process involving reduction of molecular oxygen by the intermediary tetrahydrobiopterin radical. Conclusively, because H4B can per se induce oxidative stress, an in vivo overproduction of this pterin, as is evident in various diseases, may be responsible for the observed acceleration of pathophysiological pathways.
doi:10.1074/jbc.m211779200 pmid:12714605 fatcat:366lfstm4zg35bzaqgwphj23im