Antioxidant effects of ubiquinones in microsomes and mitochondria are mediated by tocopherol recycling.


Kagan V, Serbinova E, Packer L.




Biochem Biophys Res Commun


Ubiquinones and tocopherols (vitamin E) are intrinsic lipid components which have a stabilizing function in many membranes attributed to their antioxidant activity. The antioxidant effects of tocopherols are due to direct radical scavenging. Although ubiquinones also exert antioxidant properties the specific molecular mechanisms of their antioxidant activity may be due to: (i) direct reaction with lipid radicals or (ii) interaction with chromanoxyl radicals resulting in regeneration of vitamin E. Lipid peroxidation results have now shown that tocopherols are much stronger membrane antioxidants than naturally occurring ubiquinols (ubiquinones). Thus direct radical scavenging effects of ubiquinols (ubiquinones) might be negligible in the presence of comparable or higher concentrations of tocopherols. In support of this our ESR findings show that ubiquinones synergistically enhance enzymic NADH- and NADPH-dependent recycling of tocopherols by electron transport in mitochondria and microsomes. If ubiquinols were direct radical scavengers their consumption would be expected. Further proving our conclusion HPLC measurements demonstrated that ubiquinone-dependent sparing of tocopherols was not accompanied by ubiquinone consumption.