A hypothesis for the mechanism of superoxide production by phagocytic cells

D. A. Peterson, J. M. Gerrard, M. A. Benton

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6 Scopus citations


When arachidonic acid is reacted with Fe2+, the Fe2+ is oxidized to Fe3+, and lipid peroxides are formed as detected by absorption at 232 nm. However, there is a large discrepancy between the amount of arachidonic acid converted to stable oxidized products and the amount of Fe2+ converted to Fe3+. We suggest that under appropriate conditions, electrons from the ferrous iron may reduce oxygen to superoxide in the presence of arachidonic acid. The results are consistent with evidence using bromophenacyl-bromide suggesting that release of fatty acids from cell phospholipids might by required for phagocytes to synthesize superoxide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1395
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1981

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the support of grant MA-7396 from The Medical Research Council of Canada and USPHS grant AM12466 to Dr. S. Schwartz. JMG is the recipient of a Canadian MRC scholarship.


  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Iron
  • Leukocytes
  • Superoxide


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