Assessing the Protective Activity of a Recently Discovered Phenolic Compound against Oxidative Stress Using Computational Chemistry

J Chem Inf Model. 2015 Dec 28;55(12):2552-61. doi: 10.1021/acs.jcim.5b00513. Epub 2015 Dec 15.


The protection exerted by 3,5-dihydroxy-4-methoxybenzyl alcohol (DHMBA), a phenolic compound recently isolated from the Pacific oyster, against oxidative stress (OS) is investigated using the density functional theory. Our results indicate that DHMBA is an outstanding peroxyl radical scavenger, being about 15 times and 4 orders of magnitude better than Trolox for that purpose in lipid and aqueous media, respectively. It was also found to react faster with HOO(•) than other known antioxidants such as resveratrol and ascorbic acid. DHMBA is also predicted to be able to sequester Cu(II) ions, consequently inhibiting the OS induced by Cu(II)-ascorbate mixtures and downgrading the (•)OH production via the Haber-Weiss reaction. However, it is proposed that DHMBA is more efficient as a primary antioxidant (free radical scavenger), than as a secondary antioxidant (metal ion chelator). In addition, it was found that DHMBA can be efficiently regenerated in aqueous solution, at physiological pH. Such regeneration is expected to contribute to increase the antioxidant protection exerted by DHMBA. These results suggest that probably synthetic routes for this compound should be pursued, because albeit its abundance in nature is rather low, its antioxidant activity is exceptional.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Benzyl Alcohols / chemistry*
  • Benzyl Alcohols / pharmacology
  • Chelating Agents / chemistry
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Copper / chemistry
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Phenols / chemistry*
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Thermodynamics


  • 3,5-dihydroxy-4-methoxybenzyl alcohol
  • Benzyl Alcohols
  • Chelating Agents
  • Phenols
  • Copper