Inhibition of copper-induced LDL oxidation by vitamin C is associated with decreased copper-binding to LDL and 2-oxo-histidine formation

K L Retsky, K Chen, J Zeind, B Frei
Free Radical Biology & Medicine 1999, 26 (1): 90-8
Oxidatively modified low-density lipoprotein (LDL) has numerous atherogenic properties, and antioxidants that can prevent LDL oxidation may act as antiatherogens. We have previously shown that vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid, AA) and its two-electron oxidation product dehydro-L-ascorbic acid (DHA) strongly inhibit copper (Cu)-induced LDL oxidation. These findings are unusual, as AA is known to act not only as an antioxidant, but also a pro-oxidant in the presence of transition metal ions in vitro, and DHA has no known reducing capacity. Here we report that human LDL (0.4 mg protein/ml) incubated with 40 microM Cu2+ binds 28.0 +/- 3.3 Cu ions per LDL particle (mean +/- SD, n = 10). Co-incubation of LDL with AA or DHA led to the time- and concentration-dependent release of up to 70% of bound Cu, which was associated with the inhibition of LDL oxidation. Incubation of LDL with Cu and AA or DHA also led to the time-dependent formation of 2-oxo-histidine, an oxidized derivative of histidine with a low affinity for Cu. Addition of free histidine prevented the formation of the LDL-Cu complexes and inhibited LDL oxidation, despite the fact that Cu remained redox-active. Interestingly, histidine was more effective than AA or DHA at limiting Cu binding to LDL, but at low concentrations AA and DHA were more effective than histidine at inhibiting LDL oxidation. These data suggest that there are at least two types of Cu binding sites on LDL: those that bind Cu in a redox-active form critical for initiation of LDL oxidation, and those that bind Cu in a redox-inactive form not contributing to LDL oxidation. The former sites may be primarily histidine residues of apolipoprotein B-100 that are oxidized to 2-oxo-histidine in the presence of Cu and AA or DHA, thus explaining, at least in part, the unusual inhibitory effect of vitamin C on Cu-induced LDL oxidation.

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