Molecular Biotechnology

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 5–12 | Cite as

The Important Role of Lipid Peroxidation Processes in Aging and Age Dependent Diseases

  • Gerhard Spiteller


Any change in the cell membrane structure activates lipoxygenases (LOX). LOX transform polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) to lipidhydroperoxide molecules (LOOHs). When cells are severely wounded, this physiological process switches to a non-enzymatic lipid peroxidation (LPO) process producing LOO· radicals. These oxidize nearly all-biological molecules such as lipids, sugars, and proteins. The LOO· induced degradations proceed by transfer of the radicals from cell to cell like an infection. The chemical reactions induced by LO· and LOO· radicals seem to be responsible for aging and induction of age dependent diseases.

Alternatively, LO· and LOO· radicals are generated by frying of fats and involve cholesterol-PUFA esters and thus induce atherogenesis.

Plants and algae are exposed to LOO· radicals generating radiation. In order to remove LOO· radicals, plants and algae transform PUFAs to furan fatty acids, which are incorporated after consumption of vegetables into mammalian tissues where they act as excellent scavengers of LOO· and LO· radicals.


Lipid peroxidation Peroxyl radicals Furan fatty acids Radical scavengers Atherosclerosis Alzheimer´s disease Aging 



I am deeply indebted to my former collaborators, partly cited in the references, for their contributions. I am also obliged to Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Fonds der Chemischen Industrie, Schering AG, Henkel KG and Fischer Stiftung for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Organic Chemical DepartmentUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

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