Importance of spontaneous α-ketoacid decarboxylation in experiments involving peroxide

Angelo A. Vlessis, Dagmar Bartos, Donald Trunkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The potential role of spontaneous α-ketoacid decarboxylation as a source of interference in experiments involving peroxide was investigated. The assay of pyruvate dehydrogenase activity in isolated renal mitochondria was employed as an example. Spontaneous peroxide-induced pyruvate decarboxylation competed significantly with enzymatic decarboxylation at peroxide concentrations greater than 50 μM. Corrected values for enzymatic decarboxylation could be obtained by subtracting spontaneous decarboxylation rates from rates obtained in the presence of mitochondria. At higher peroxide concentrations (>200 μM), reaction product accumulates (acetoacetate) to levels which may have regulatory effects on mitochondrial metabolism. The divalent cations, Ca2+ and Mg2+, both accelerate spontaneous peroxide-induced pyruvate decarboxylation while other components of the assay medium had an inhibitory effect on the reaction. The results are discussed in relation to the currently accepted reaction mechanism. Investigators who perform experiments involving reactive oxygen species should be familiar with this often overlooked reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1281-1287
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 16 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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