Do stable nitroxide radicals catalyze or inhibit the degradation of hyaluronic acid?

Ziva Lurie, Tal Offer, Angelo Russo, Amram Samuni, Dorrit Nitzan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Reactive oxygen-derived species and particularly OH radicals can degrade hyaluronic acid (HA), resulting in a loss of viscosity and a subsequent decrease in its effectiveness as a joint-lubricating agent. The production of OH in the vicinity of HA can be catalyzed by bound redox-active metals, which participate in the Haber-Weiss reaction. Damage to HA can also occur as a result of hypochlorite formed by myeloperoxidase (MPO). The protective reagents commonly used to inhibit oxidative stress-induced degradation of HA include antioxidative enzymes, such as SOD and catalase, chelators that coordinate metal ions rendering them redox-inactive, and scavengers of radicals, such as OH, as well as nonradical reactive species. In recent years, stable cyclic nitroxides have also been widely used as effective antioxidants. In many cases, nitroxide antioxidants operate catalytically and mediate their protective effect through an exchange between their oxidized and reduced forms. It was anticipated, therefore, that nitroxides would protect HA from oxidative degradation as well. On the other hand, nitroxides serve as catalysts in many oxidation reactions of alcohols, sugars and polysaccharides, including hyalouronan. Such opposite effects of nitroxides on oxidative degradation are particularly intriguing and the aim of the present study was to examine their effect on HA when subjected to diverse forms of oxidative stress. The results indicate that nitroxides protect HA from OH radicals generated enzymatically or radiolytically. The protective effect is attributable neither to the scavenging of OH nor to the oxidation of reduced metal, but to the reaction of nitroxides with secondary carbohydrate radicals - most likely peroxyl radicals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-178
Number of pages10
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidants
  • Free radicals
  • Ionizing radiation
  • SOD mimics
  • Superoxide
  • Viscosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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