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Alpha Lipoic

February 2005

Dihydrolipoic acid inhibits 15-lipoxygenase-dependent lipid peroxidation.

The potential antioxidant effects of the hydrophobic therapeutic agent lipoic acid (LA) and of its reduced form dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA) on the peroxidation of either linoleic acid or human non-HDL fraction catalyzed by soybean 15-lipoxygenase (SLO) and rabbit reticulocyte 15-lipoxygenase (RR15-LOX) were investigated. DHLA, but not LA, did inhibit SLO-dependent lipid peroxidation, showing an IC(50) of 15 microM with linoleic acid and 5 microM with the non-HDL fraction. In specific experiments performed with linoleic acid, inhibition of SLO activity by DHLA was irreversible and of a complete, noncompetitive type. In comparison with DHLA, the well-known lipoxygenase inhibitor nordihydroguaiaretic acid and the nonspecific iron reductant sodium dithionite inhibited SLO-dependent linoleic acid peroxidation with an IC(50) of 4 and 100 microM, respectively, while the hydrophilic thiol N-acetylcysteine, albeit possessing iron-reducing and radical-scavenging properties, was ineffective. Remarkably, DHLA, but not LA, was also able to inhibit the peroxidation of linoleic acid and of the non-HDL fraction catalyzed by RR15-LOX with an IC(50) of, respectively, 10 and 5 microM. Finally, DHLA, but once again not LA, could readily reduce simple ferric ions and scavenge efficiently the stable free radical 1,1-diphenyl-2-pycrylhydrazyl in ethanol; DHLA was considerably less effective against 2,2'-azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride-mediated, peroxyl radical-induced non-HDL peroxidation, showing an IC(50) of 850 microM. Thus, DHLA, at therapeutically relevant concentrations, can counteract 15-lipoxygenase-dependent lipid peroxidation; this antioxidant effect may stem primarily from reduction of the active ferric 15-lipoxygenase form to the inactive ferrous state after DHLA-enzyme hydrophobic interaction and, possibly, from scavenging of fatty acid peroxyl radicals formed during lipoperoxidative processes. Inhibition of 15-lipoxygenase oxidative activity by DHLA could occur in the clinical setting, eventually resulting in specific antioxidant and antiatherogenic effects.

Free Radic Biol Med . 2003 Nov 15;35(10):1203-9

Protection against amyloid beta peptide and iron/hydrogen peroxide toxicity by alpha lipoic acid.

Current evidence supports the role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of neuron degeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD). alpha-Lipoic acid (LA), an essential cofactor in mitochondrial dehydrogenase reactions, functions as an antioxidant and reduces oxidative stress in aged animals. Here, we describe the effects of LA and its reduced form, dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA), in neuron cultures treated with amyloid beta-peptide (Abeta 25-35) and iron/hydrogen peroxide (Fe/H2O2). Pretreatment of dissociated primary hippocampal cultures with LA significantly protected against Abeta and Fe/H2O2 toxicity. In contrast, concomitant treatment of cultures with LA and Fe/H2O2 significantly potentiated the toxicity. Decreased cell survival in cultures treated concomitantly with LA and Fe/H2O2 correlated with increased free radical production measured by dichlorofluorescein fluorescence. Treatment of cortical neurons with DHLA significantly protected glucose-transport against Fe/H2O2 or beta-mediated decreases although treatment with LA did not provide protection. These data suggest that DHLA, the reduced form of LA, significantly protects against both Abeta and Fe/H2O2 mediated toxicity. The data also suggest that concomitant exposure to LA and Fe/H2O2 significantly potentiates the oxidative stress. Overall, these data suggest that the oxidation state of LA is critical to its function and that in the absence of studies of LA/DHLA equilibria in human brain the use of LA as an antioxidant in disorders where there is increased Fe such as AD is of questionable efficacy.

J Alzheimers Dis . 2003 Jun;5(3):229-39

Delaying brain mitochondrial decay and aging with mitochondrial antioxidants and metabolites.

Mitochondria decay with age due to the oxidation of lipids, proteins, RNA, and DNA. Some of this decay can be reversed in aged animals by feeding them the mitochondrial metabolites acetylcarnitine and lipoic acid. In this review, we summarize our recent studies on the effects of these mitochondrial metabolites and mitochondrial antioxidants (alpha-phenyl-N-t-butyl nitrone and N-t-butyl hydroxylamine) on the age-associated mitochondrial decay of the brain of old rats, neuronal cells, and human diploid fibroblast cells. In feeding studies in old rats, these mitochondrial metabolites and antioxidants improve the age-associated decline of ambulatory activity and memory, partially restore mitochondrial structure and function, inhibit the age-associated increase of oxidative damage to lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids, elevate the levels of antioxidants, and restore the activity and substrate binding affinity of a key mitochondrial enzyme, carnitine acetyltransferase. These mitochondrial metabolites and antioxidants protect neuronal cells from neurotoxin- and oxidant-induced toxicity and oxidative damage; delay the normal senescence of human diploid fibroblast cells, and inhibit oxidant-induced acceleration of senescence. These results suggest a plausible mechanism: with age, increased oxidative damage to proteins and lipid membranes, particularly in mitochondria, causes a deformation of structure of enzymes, with a consequent decrease of enzyme activity as well as substrate binding affinity for their substrates; an increased level of substrate restores the velocity of the reaction and restores mitochondrial function, thus delaying mitochondrial decay and aging. This loss of activity due to coenzyme or substrate binding appears to be true for a number of other enzymes as well, including mitochondrial complex III and IV.

Ann N Y Acad Sci . 2002 Apr;959:133-66

Alpha-lipoic acid as a new treatment option for Azheimer type dementia.

Oxidative stress and energy depletion are characteristic biochemical hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD), thus antioxidants with positive effects on glucose metabolism such as thioctic (alpha-lipoic) acid should exert positive effects in these patients. Therefore, 600 mg alpha-lipoic acid was given daily to nine patients with AD and related dementias (receiving a standard treatment with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors) in an open study over an observation period of, on avarage, 337+/-80 days. The treatment led to a stabilization of cognitive functions in the study group, demonstrated by constant scores in two neuropsychological tests (mini-mental state examination: MMSE and AD assessment scale, cognitive subscale: ADAScog). Despite the fact that this study was small and not randomized, this is the first indication that treatment with alpha-lipoic acid might be a successful 'neuroprotective' therapy option for AD and related dementias.

Arch Gerontol Geriatr . 2001 Jun;32(3):275-282

Age-associated mitochondrial oxidative decay: improvement of carnitine acetyltransferase substrate-binding affinity and activity in brain by feeding old rats acetyl-L- carnitine and/or R-alpha -lipoic acid.

We test whether the dysfunction with age of carnitine acetyltransferase (CAT), a key mitochondrial enzyme for fuel utilization, is due to decreased binding affinity for substrate and whether this substrate, fed to old rats, restores CAT activity. The kinetics of CAT were analyzed by using the brains of young and old rats and of old rats supplemented for 7 weeks with the CAT substrate acetyl-l-carnitine (ALCAR) and/or the mitochondrial antioxidant precursor R-alpha-lipoic acid (LA). Old rats, compared with young rats, showed a decrease in CAT activity and in CAT-binding affinity for both substrates, ALCAR and CoA. Feeding ALCAR or ALCAR plus LA to old rats significantly restored CAT-binding affinity for ALCAR and CoA, and CAT activity. To explore the underlying mechanism, lipid peroxidation and total iron and copper levels were assayed; all increased in old rats. Feeding old rats LA or LA plus ALCAR inhibited lipid peroxidation but did not decrease iron and copper levels. Ex vivo oxidation of young-rat brain with Fe(II) caused loss of CAT activity and binding affinity. In vitro oxidation of purified CAT with Fe(II) inactivated the enzyme but did not alter binding affinity. However, in vitro treatment of CAT with the lipid peroxidation products malondialdehyde or 4-hydroxy-nonenal caused a decrease in CAT-binding affinity and activity, thus mimicking age-related change. Preincubation of CAT with ALCAR or CoA prevented malondialdehyde-induced dysfunction. Thus, feeding old rats high levels of key mitochondrial metabolites can ameliorate oxidative damage, enzyme activity, substrate-binding affinity, and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Feb 19;99(4):1876-81