Do humans neutrophils form hydroxyl radical? Evaluation of an unresolved controversy

Myron S. Cohen, Bradley E. Britigan, Daniel J. Hassett, Gerald M. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Hydroxyl radical is a potent oxidizing agent of potential importance in human pathology. Since neutrophilic phagocytes make superoxide and hydrogen peroxide during phagocytosis, it has been proposed that hydroxyl radical is also formed. In this paper we review the literature which supports or refutes formation of hydroxyl radical by neutrophils and the mechanism(s) by which this radical migh be formed. We conclude that there is no definitive proof for hydroxyl radical formation by neutrophils. In fact, neutrophil release of lactoferrin and myeloperoxidase appears to limit formation of this radical. Future studies are likely to determine whether superoxide released by neutrophils interacts with target substrates to allow formation of hydroxyl radical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydorxyl radical
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Iron
  • Lactoferrin
  • Myeloperoxidase
  • Neutrophils
  • Superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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