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Stimulation of synaptosomal free radical production by fatty acids: Relation to esterification and to degree of unsaturation


The ability of three fatty acids and their respective ethyl esters, to promote generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), was compared in a preparation of rat brain synaptosomes. Arachidonic but not palmitic or linoleic acids promoted ROS generation. Ethyl esterification of each fatty acid significantly enhanced ROS production and also levels of lipid peroxidaton. Pro-oxidant activity was enhanced by fatty acids, proportionally to their degree of unsaturation. Since ethanol consumption is known to lead to esterification of membrane lipids, this transformation may in part account for the ROS-promoting potential of alcohol.

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