The role of dietary phenolic compounds in the detoxification of reactive nitrogen species

Lincoln Morton

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract. Please see the pdf format for the complete text.] Interest in the role of peroxynitrite in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis has increased due to many in vitro studies which have demonstrated its potent oxidising and nitrating capability and immunohistochemical staining studies which demonstrate nitration of tyrosine in vivo. It is frequently suggested that the production of nitric oxide and superoxide at sites of inflammation implicates peroxynitrite as the major damaging reactive nitrogen species in vivo. Evidence for a role for peroxynitrite is often demonstrated by measurement of 3-nitrotyrosine yet even this cannot distinguish peroxynitrite from other nitrating species. Clearly, however, if peroxynitrite is important in atherogenesis, then identification of mechanisms for its detoxification could provide a means of preventing such effects. Therefore, this Thesis has sought to determine whether phenolic compounds of dietary origin can be preferentially nitrated by reactive nitrogen species thereby protecting endogenous structures, such as low density lipoproteins, from atherogenic modifications. This Thesis focuses upon phenolic acids as they have received relatively less attention than other classes of phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids, yet they are quite abundant in socially important beverages such as red wine. In order to complete the required analyses, the development of methods to detect phenolic acids and their nitration products together with 3-nitrotyrosine, dityrosine and 5-nitro-γ-tocopherol was necessary. The initial in vitro experiments described herein sought to determine the products of reaction of peroxynitrite with phenolic acids of the 4-hydroxy and 3,4-dihydroxy type and then to examine whether these products could account for a protective effect upon tyrosine, lipids and endogenous anti-oxidants, if any was observed, when isolated LDL was treated with SIN-1, which releases peroxynitrite through the simultaneous generation of nitric oxide and superoxide. A concurrent minor focus was to examine the relationship between structure and activity of these phenolic acids under various regimes of oxidative insult. These experiments indicate that, at least in this in vitro model, oxidation is a dominant mechanism over nitration. Peroxynitrite was shown to nitrate coumaric acid in moderate yields but exclusive oxidation of caffeic acid appeared to occur. Although a potential role for γ-tocopherol as an anti-nitration agent was inferred, all types of chemical treatment of LDL in the presence of phenolic acids yielded oxidation as the primary end point.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2003


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