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2013 | 60 | 4 | 565-571
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Dynamics of reactive oxygen species generation in the presence of copper(II)-histidine complex and cysteine

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Histidine-copper(II) complex (Cu-His2) is a form of bound copper necessary for cellular copper uptake. Due to the high affinity of histidine to copper(II) ions, the binding of copper(II) by histidine is considered a substantial part of plasma antioxidative defense. Also cysteine plays a role in the antioxidative system. However, we show here that in the presence of oxygen the histidine-copper(II) complex plus cysteine produces reactive oxygen species (ROS). Cysteine concentration was assayed using a thiol specific silver-mercury electrode. Hydrogen peroxide was assayed amperometrically using platinum electrode. ROS formation was followed by chemiluminescence of luminol-fluoresceine-enhanced system. Addition of cysteine to Cu-His2 solution at pH 7.4 in the presence of atmospheric oxygen initiates the synthesis of H2O2 and generation of ROS, which manifests as a burst of chemiluminescence. The reaction has two stages; in the first stage, cysteine is utilized for the synthesis of an unstable intermediary product which becomes a substrate for ROS formation. Anaerobic conditions inhibit ROS formation. Increased cysteine concentration enhances the lag phase of the oxidative burst without influencing the amount of ROS. The synthesis of ROS (measured by chemiluminescence) is proportional to the concentration of Cu-His2 employed. ROS production can be repetitively initiated by further additions of cysteine to the reaction medium. The study suggests that Cu-His2 catalyzes cysteine-dependent reduction of oxygen to superoxide employing an intermediary cysteine-copper(I) complex and enabling Fenton reaction with copper and hydrogen peroxide produced as a secondary product. In effect, Cu-His2 with cysteine may be a source of ROS in biological media.
Physical description
  • Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Diagnostic Division, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków, Poland
  • Department of Medical Diagnostics, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków, Poland
  • Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Diagnostic Division, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków, Poland
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