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Peroxynitrite-mediated decarboxylation of pyruvate to both carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide radical anion. Chem Res Toxicol 1997 Jul;10(7):786-94



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-0343580474 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   72 Citations


There has been a recent renewal of interest in the antioxidant properties of pyruvate which are usually attributed to its capacity to undergo oxidative decarboxylation in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. The interaction of pyruvate with other oxidizing biological intermediates, however, has been scarcely considered in the literature. Here we report that peroxynitrite, the oxidant produced by the reaction between superoxide anion and nitric oxide, reacts with pyruvate with an apparent second-order rate constant of 88 +/- 7 M-1 s-1 at pH 7.4 and 37 degrees C. Kinetic studies indicated that pyruvate reacts with peroxynitrite anion (k = 100 +/- 7 M-1 s-1, peroxynitrous acid (k = 49 +/- 7 M-1 s-1, and a highly oxidizing species derived from peroxynitrous acid. Pyruvate decarboxylation was proved by anion exchange chromatography detection of acetate in incubations of peroxynitrite and pyruvate at pH 7.4 and 5.5. Formation of carbon dioxide radical anion was ascertained by EPR spin-trapping studies in the presence of GSH and the spin-trap 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide (DMPO). The use of pyruvate labeled with 13C at the 1-position led to the detection of the labeled DMPO carbon dioxide radical anion adduct. In the absence of GSH, oxygen consumption studies confirmed that peroxynitrite mediates the decarboxylation of pyruvate to free radical intermediates. Comparing the yields of acetate and free radicals estimated from the oxygen uptake studies, it is concluded that pyruvate is oxidized by both one- and two-electron oxidation pathways, the latter being preponderant. Hydrogen peroxide-mediated pyruvate oxidation does not produce detectable levels of carbon dioxide radical anion except in the presence of iron(II)-ethylenediamine-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetate (EDTA). The apparent second-order rate constant of the reaction between pyruvate and hydrogen peroxide was determined to be 1 order of magnitude lower than that of the reaction between pyruvate and peroxynitrite. The latter process may contribute to the antioxidant properties of pyruvate.

Author List

Vásquez-Vivar J, Denicola A, Radi R, Augusto O


Jeannette M. Vasquez-Vivar PhD Professor in the Biophysics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Carbon Dioxide
Chromatography, Ion Exchange
Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
Free Radicals
Oxygen Consumption
Pyruvic Acid