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Besting Vitamin E: Sidechain Substitution is Key to the Reactivity of Naphthyridinol Antioxidants in Lipid Bilayers

Li, Bo, Harjani, Jitendra R., Cormier, Nicholas S., Madarati, Hasam, Atkinson, Jeffrey, Cosa, Gonzalo, Pratt, Derek A.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2013 v.135 no.4 pp. 1394-1405
acetylcysteine, alpha-tocopherol, antioxidants, autoxidation, bioavailability, boron, branching, dose response, fluorescence, free radicals, humans, hydrophilicity, hydrophobicity, ligands, lipid bilayers, phosphatidylcholines, reducing agents, stoichiometry, transport proteins
A series of naphthyridinol analogs of α-tocopherol (α-TOH, right) with varying sidechain substitution was synthesized to determine how systematic changes in the lipophilicity of these potent antioxidants impact their radical-trapping activities in lipid bilayers, regenerability by water-soluble reductants, and binding to human tocopherol transport protein (TTP). The activities of the naphthyridinols were assayed in phosphatidylcholine unilamellar liposomes using a recently developed high-throughput assay that employs a boron dipyrromethene conjugate of α-TOH (H₂B-PMHC) that undergoes fluorescence enhancement upon oxidation. The naphthyridinols afforded a dose-dependent protection of H₂B-PMHC consistent with unprecedented peroxyl radical-trapping activity in lipid bilayers. While sidechain length and/or branching had no effect on their apparent reactivity, it dramatically impacted reaction stoichiometry, with more lipophilic compounds trapping two peroxyl radicals and more hydrophilic compounds trapping significantly less than one. It is suggested that the less lipophilic compounds autoxidize rapidly in the aqueous phase and that preferential partitioning of the more lipophilic compounds to the bilayer protects them from autoxidation. The cooperativity of a lipophilic naphthyridinol with water-soluble reducing agents was also studied in liposomes using H₂B-PMHC and revealed superior regenerability by each of ascorbate, N-acetylcysteine, and urate when compared to α-TOH. Binding assays with human TTP, a key determinant of the bioavailability of the tocopherols, reveal that the naphthyiridinols can be very good ligands for the protein. In fact, naphthyridinols with sidechains of eight or more carbons had affinities for TTP which were similar to, and in one case 10-fold better than, α-TOH.