Hydroxyl radical is not a product of the reaction of xanthine oxidase and xanthine: The confounding problem of adventitious iron bound to xanthine oxidase

Bradley E. Britigan, Sovitj Pou, Gerald M. Rosen, Diane M. Lilleg, Garry R. Buettner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


The reaction of xanthine and xanthine oxidase generates Superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. In contrast to earlier works, recent spin trapping data (Kuppusamy, P., and Zweier, J. L. (1989) J. Biol. Chem. 264, 9880-9884) suggested that hydroxyl radical may also be a product of this reaction. Determining if hydroxyl radical results directly from the xanthine/xanthine oxidase reaction is important for 1) interpreting experimental data in which this reaction is used as a model of oxidant stress, and 2) understanding the pathogenesis of ischemia/reperfusion injury. Consequently, we evaluated the conditions required for hydroxyl radical generation during the oxidation of xanthine by xanthine oxidase. Following the addition of some, but not all, commercial preparations of xanthine oxidase to a mixture of xanthine, deferoxamine, and either 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-AT-oxide or a combination of αphenyl-N-tert-butyl-nitrone and dimethyl sulfoxide, hydroxyl radical-derived spin adducts were detected. With other preparations, no evidence of hydroxyl radical formation was noted. Xanthine oxidase preparations that generated hydroxyl radical had greater iron associated with them, suggesting that adventitious iron was a possible contributing factor. Consistent with this hypothesis, addition of H2O2, in the absence of xanthine, to "high iron" xanthine oxidase preparations generated hydroxyl radical. Substitution of a different iron chelator, diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid for deferoxamine, or preincubation of high iron xanthine oxidase preparations with chelating resin, or overnight dialysis of the enzyme against deferoxamine decreased or eliminated hydroxyl radical generation without altering the rate of Superoxide production. Therefore, hydroxyl radical does not appear to be a product of the oxidation of xanthine by xanthine oxidase. However, commercial xanthine oxidase preparations may contain adventitious iron bound to the enyzme, which can catalyze hydroxyl radical formation from hydrogen peroxide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17533-17538
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number29
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Hydroxyl radical is not a product of the reaction of xanthine oxidase and xanthine: The confounding problem of adventitious iron bound to xanthine oxidase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this