Is Homocysteine a pro-oxidant ?

Alvaro Mordente, Silvia Persichilli, Bruno Zappacosta, Angelo Minucci, Giuseppe Ettore Martorana, Bruno Giardina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)


High plasma homocysteine concentrations have been found to be associated with atherosclerosis and thrombosis of arteries and deep veins. The oxidative damage mediated by hydrogen peroxide production during the metal-catalyzed oxidation of homocysteine is to date considered to be one of the major pathophysiological mechanisms for this association. In this work, a very sensitive and accurate method was employed to measure the effective production of H2O2 during homocysteine oxidation. Furthermore, the interaction of homocysteine with powerful oxidizing species (hypochlorite, peroxynitrite, ferrylmyoglobin) was evaluated in order to ascertain the putative pro-oxidant role of homocysteine. Our findings indicate that homocysteine does not produce H2O2 in a significant amount (1/4000 mole/mole ratio of H2O2 to homocysteine). Moreover, homocysteine strongly inhibits the oxidation of luminol and dihydrorhodamine by hypochlorite or peroxynitrite and rapidly reduces back ferrylmyoglobin, the oxidizing species, to metmyoglobin. All these results should, in our opinion, lead to a rethinking of the commonly held view that homocysteine oxidation is one of the main causative mechanisms of cardiovascular damage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-505
Number of pages7
JournalFree Radical Research
Publication statusPublished - 2001




Dive into the research topics of 'Is Homocysteine a pro-oxidant ?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this