lipid peroxidation

Aubrey de Grey ag24 at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk
Thu Jun 10 10:21:36 EST 1999

Bob wrote:

> Can someone please explain to me what is lipid peroxidation?  thanks

I guess no one has replied because it is actually quite difficult to
compose an answer which combines simplicity, accuracy and utility.
Here's an attempt at that.

Lipid peroxidation is a chemical reaction between certain types of
lipid molecule and oxygen, whereby the oxygen molecule is incorporated
into the lipid molecule to form a lipid hydroperoxide.  In typical
biological systems, most of the lipids present do not spontaneously
react with oxygen; peroxidation begins when a lipid molecule reacts
with something much more reactive than oxygen, such as the hydroxyl
radical, to form a much more reactive variant of the lipid (a lipid
radical) which then reacts with oxygen.  Lipid hydroperoxides are
intermediate in reactivity between normal lipids and lipid radicals:
they don't react with oxygen, but they do react with chemicals that
normal lipids don't (such as iron) and this causes more peroxidation.

Aubrey de Grey

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