Journal list menu

Volume 284, Issue 2 p. 147-151
Hypothesis
Free Access

Vitamins C and E donate single hydrogen atoms in vivo

David Njus

Corresponding Author

David Njus

Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA

Correspondence address: D. Njus, Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA Fax: (1)(313) 577-6891.Search for more papers by this author
Patrick M. Kelley

Patrick M. Kelley

Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA

Search for more papers by this author
First published: June 24, 1991
Citations: 114

Abstract

The antioxidant vitamins, C and E, eliminate cytotoxic free radicals by redox cycling. Energetic and kinetic considerations suggest that cycling of vitamin C and vitamin E between their reduced and free radical forms occurs via the transfer of single hydrogen atoms rather than via separate electron transfer and protonation reactions. This may enable these vitamins to reduce many of the damaging free radicals commonly encountered by biological systems while minimizing the reduction of molecular oxygen to superoxide.