One known, (2R)-(12Z,15Z)-2-hydroxy-4-oxoheneicosa-12,15-dien+ ++-1-yl acetate (1), and two novel compounds, persenone A (2) and B (3), have been isolated from avocado fruit (Persea americana P. Mill), as inhibitors of superoxide (O(2)(-)) and nitric oxide (NO) generation in cell culture systems. They showed marked inhibitory activities toward NO generation induced by lipopolysaccharide in combination with interferon-gamma in mouse macrophage RAW 264.7 cells. Their inhibitory potencies of NO generation (1, IC(50) = 3.6; 2, IC(50) = 1.2; and 3, IC(50) = 3.5 microM) were comparable to or higher than that of a natural NO generation inhibitor, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; IC(50) = 4.3 microM). Furthermore, compounds 1-3 and DHA markedly suppressed tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced O(2)(-) generation in differentiated human promyelocytic HL-60 cells (1, IC(50) = 33.7; 2, IC(50) = 1.4; 3, IC(50) = 1.8; and DHA, IC(50) = 10.3 microM). It is notable that they were found to be suppressors of both NO- and O(2)(-)-generating biochemical pathways but not to be radical scavengers. The results indicate that these compounds are unique antioxidants, preferentially suppressing radical generation, and thus may be promising as effective chemopreventive agent candidates in inflammation-associated carcinogenesis.