In vivo formation of hydroxyl radicals following intragastric administration of ferrous salt in rats

Jae O. Kang, Adam Slivka, Gary Slater, Gerald Cohen

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19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Accidental poisoning by oral iron preparations is a serious problem in young children. We investigated the formation of hydroxyl radicals ({dot operator}OH) in rats after intragastric instillation of ferrous sulfate. {dot operator}OH was detected via its reaction with intragastrically administered 2-keto-4-methylthiobutyrate to generate ethylene gas. Ascorbic acid is typically present in oral iron preparations in order to facilitate absorption by maintaining iron in the reduced state. However, ascorbate possesses two properties that can affect {dot operator}OH: recycling of oxidized iron to the ferrous state augments {dot operator}OH production, while ascorbate in high concentration scavenges {dot operator}OH. In experiments conducted in vitro, both actions were evident, depending upon the concentration of ascorbate. In parallel experiments conducted in vivo, the scavenging action of ascorbate was more prominent. Experiments in vitro with {dot operator} OH-scavengers (dimethylsulfoxide, ethanol) and with the enzyme, catalase, confirmed both the presence of {dot operator}OH and its dependence upon generated hydrogen peroxide during the oxidation of ferrous salt by molecular oxygen. Hydroxyl radicals (and/or reactive higher oxidation states of iron) may play a role in tissue damage after accidental overdose of oral iron.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-69
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1989

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