Autoxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) damages lipid membranes and generates numerous toxic by-products implicated in neurodegeneration, aging, and other pathologies. Abstraction of bis-allylic hydrogen atoms is the rate-limiting step of PUFA autoxidation, which is inhibited by replacing bis-allylic hydrogens with deuterium atoms (D-PUFAs). In cells, the presence of a relatively small fraction of D-PUFAs among natural PUFAs is sufficient to effectively inhibit lipid peroxidation (LPO). Here, we investigate the effect of various D-PUFAs on the stability of liposomes under oxidative stress conditions. The permeability of vesicle membranes to fluorescent dyes was measured as a proxy for bilayer integrity, and the formation of conjugated dienes was monitored as a proxy for LPO. Remarkably, both approaches reveal a similar threshold for the protective effect of D-PUFAs in liposomes. We show that protection rendered by D-PUFAs depends on the structure of the deuterated fatty acid. Our findings suggest that protection of PUFAs against autoxidation depends on the total level of deuterated bi-sallylic (CD 2 ) groups present in the lipid bilayer. However, the phospholipid containing 6,6,9,9,12,12,15,15,18,18-d 10 -docosahexaenoic acid exerts a stronger protective effect than should be expected from its deuteration level. These findings further support the application of D-PUFAs as preventive/therapeutic agents in numerous pathologies that involve LPO.
- conjugated dienes
- deuterated polyunsaturated fatty acids
- lipid peroxidation
- liposome leakage
- reactive oxygen species