, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 477–486 | Cite as

Dolichol: A Component of the Cellular Antioxidant Machinery

  • Gabriella CavalliniEmail author
  • Antonella Sgarbossa
  • Ilaria Parentini
  • Ranieri Bizzarri
  • Alessio Donati
  • Francesco Lenci
  • Ettore Bergamini
Original Article


Dolichol, an end product of the mevalonate pathway, has been proposed as a biomarker of aging, but its biological role, not to mention its catabolism, has not been fully understood. UV-B radiation was used to induce oxidative stress in isolated rat hepatocytes by the collagenase method. Effects on dolichol, phospholipid-bound polyunsaturated fatty acids (PL-PUFA) and known lipid soluble antioxidants [coenzyme Q (CoQ) and α-tocopherol] were studied. The increase in oxidative stress was detected by a probe sensitive to reactive oxygen species (ROS). Peroxidation of lipids was assessed by measuring the release of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Dolichol, CoQ, and α-tocopherol were assessed by high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), PL-PUFA by gas–liquid chromatography (GC). UV-B radiation caused an immediate increase in ROS as well as lipid peroxidation and a simultaneous decrease in the levels of dolichol and lipid soluble antioxidants. Decrease in dolichol paralleled changes in CoQ levels and was smaller to that in α-tocopherol. The addition of mevinolin, a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase (HMG-CoAR), magnified the loss of dolichol and was associated with an increase in TBARS production. Changes in PL-PUFA were minor. These findings highlight that oxidative stress has very early and similar effects on dolichol and lipid soluble antioxidants. Lower levels of dolichol are associated with enhanced peroxidation of lipids, which suggest that dolichol may have a protective role in the antioxidant machinery of cell membranes and perhaps be a key to understanding some adverse effects of statin therapy.


Dolichol Coenzyme Q α-Tocopherol Phospholipid-bound polyunsaturated fatty acids Rat hepatocytes Oxidative stress 



Coenzyme Q


2′,7′-dichlorodihydro-fuorescein diacetate


Fatty acid(s)


Fatty acid methyl esters


Gas–liquid chromatography


3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase


High-pressure liquid chromatography




Oxidative stress




Phospholipid-bound polyunsaturated fatty acid(s)


Reactive oxygen species


Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances


6-hydroxy-2,5,7,8-tetramethylchroman-2-carboxylic acid




Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriella Cavallini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antonella Sgarbossa
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ilaria Parentini
    • 1
  • Ranieri Bizzarri
    • 2
    • 3
  • Alessio Donati
    • 1
  • Francesco Lenci
    • 2
  • Ettore Bergamini
    • 1
  1. 1.Interdepartmental Research Centre on Biology and Pathology of AgingUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Biophysics Institute of the National Research Council (IBF-CNR)PisaItaly
  3. 3.NESTNanoscience Institute of the National Research Council (NANO-CNR) and Scuola Normale SuperiorePisaItaly

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