Antioxidant effect of coenzyme Q on hydrogen peroxide-activated myoglobin

Alvaro Mordente, Giacinto Abele Donato Miggiano, Giuseppe Ettore Martorana, Bruno Giardina, M. Battino, G. P. Littarru

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12 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years increased attention has been focused on the reduced forms of coenzyme Q as antioxidant compounds inhibiting lipid peroxidation in model systems and in biological membranes, but in spite of extensive experimental evidences the molecular mechanisms responsible for the antioxidant activity of ubiquinones are still debated. Ferrylmyoglobin and/or its free radical form are regarded as powerful oxidizing agents capable of promoting oxidation of essential cellular constituents, particularly cell membranes. Therefore, we investigated the effects of ubiquinol on the formation and survival of ferryl species of myoglobin and on metmyoglobin itself. The addition of a threefold molar excess of hydrogen peroxide to a solution of metmyoglobin induces the rapid formation of a compound with the spectral characteristics of ferrylmyoglobin. The reaction is complete within 4 min, producing up to 76% of ferrylmyoglobin, which remains stable for at least 30 min. The addition of ubiquinol-1 to the same solution provokes a rapid and progressive reduction of ferrylmyoglobin to metmyoglobin and oxymyoglobin. Ubiquinol-1, furthermore, is also capable of protecting metmyoglobin against oxidation when added in the solution before hydrogen peroxide. Ubiquinol-1, indeed, is effective at both limiting the maximal ferrylmyoglobin level attained (59% inhibition) and accomplishing complete removal of the ferryl form (in about 15 min). The results demonstrate that ubiquinol is capable of reducing both ferrylmyoglobin and metmyoglobin to oxymyoglobin, providing a novel antioxidant mechanism for coenzyme Q.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S92-S92-6
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • Antioxidants
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Metmyoglobin
  • Myoglobin
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Ubiquinone


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