The aerobic xanthine oxidase reaction causes the cooxidation of dihydroxyacetone in a process which is strongly inhibited by superoxide dismutase but not by catalase, HO · scavengers, or iron-inactivating chelating agents. Several molecules of the sugar can be oxidized per O2- introduced. A free radical chain mechanism, in which O2- acts both as an initiator and as a chain propagator, is proposed. Simple sugars capable of tautomerizing to enediols may now be added to the list of biologically relevant targets for O2-.
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