Susceptibility of neonatal lipoproteins to oxidative stress

Pediatr Res. 1991 Jan;29(1):39-45. doi: 10.1203/00006450-199101000-00008.


We compared peroxidizability of neonatal and adult lipoproteins exposed to oxidative stress initiated by an azo-compound. Oxygen uptake showed a two-phase pattern, with slow oxygen uptake in the first phase and faster uptake in the second phase. During the first phase, tocopherol was consumed progressively, inhibiting lipid peroxidation by scavenging peroxy radicals. After the tocopherol concentration fell below a critical level, extensive propagation of chain oxidative reactions produced the rapid oxygen uptake in the second phase. In the first phase of neonatal lipoprotein oxidation, a faster oxygen uptake was observed and the length of this phase was shorter than in adults. The oxygen uptake rate in the second phase was smaller in the neonatal lipoproteins. In other words, neonatal lipoproteins were more susceptible to oxidative stress than were adult ones when tocopherol remained in lipoproteins, but after tocopherol depletion the reverse was true. These results were consistent with the finding that in neonatal lipoproteins the tocopherol/lipid ratio was significantly lower (length of the inhibitory phase was closely correlated to the lipoprotein tocopherol content). In addition, the average number of active bisallylic hydrogen atoms, which are considered to determine the relative susceptibility of polyunsaturated fatty acids to oxidation, was significantly smaller (oxygen uptake rate in the second phase was closely correlated to the active bisallylic hydrogen number) in neonatal lipoproteins, and the ratio of active bisallylic hydrogen to tocopherol content (which closely correlated to oxygen uptake rate in the first phase) was also significantly lower compared with the adult ratio. Under physiologic conditions, an intensive oxidation of lipoproteins sufficient to cause lipoprotein tocopherol to fall below critical levels is unlikely to occur.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amidines
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Stress, Physiological / blood
  • Vitamin E / blood


  • Amidines
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Vitamin E
  • 2,2'-azobis(2-amidinopropane)