Association of antioxidant systems in the protection of human fibroblasts against oxygen derived free radicals

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The protection of human diploid fibroblasts against high oxygen tension was investigated using various combinations of the three major antioxidant enzymes: superoxide dismutase, catalase and gluthathione peroxidase. αTocopherol, a well-known hydrophobic antioxidant, was also tested in combination with the different enzymes. Microinjection of solutions containing different combinations of the three enzymes was compared with the injection of each single enzyme. We observed that the protections given by catalase or superoxide dismutase on the one hand, and by glutathione peroxidase on the other hand, were additive. Surprisingly, the combinations of catalase and superoxide dismutase were less effective than catalase alone and was even toxic at low SOD concentrations. Addition of αtocopherol following the injection of any of the three enzymes was highly beneficial, but the strongest synergistic effect was obtained with glutathione peroxidase. These results stress the importance of membrane protection by αtocopherol and indirectly by glutathione peroxidase. They also showed that any injection leading to the decrease in the O2 - or H2 O 2 concentration combined with one of these two protectors is very beneficial for the cells probably by decreasing the OH concentration. This is also proven by the very good protective effect obtained with desferrioxamine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-334
Number of pages12
JournalFree Radical Research
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • Catalase
  • Glutathione peroxidase
  • Hyperoxia
  • Microinjection
  • Superoxide dismutase
  • αtocopherol


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