Kinetics of hemin distribution in plasma reveals its role in lipoprotein oxidation

Yury I. Miller*, Nurith Shaklai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hemin is a powerful in vitro inducer of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, implicated in development of atherosclerosis. To support the proposed role of hemin in atherogenesis, the question of whether hemin has any chance of getting together with LDL in vivo, must be addressed. A stopped-flow technique was employed in order to investigate the fast kinetics of hemin binding to LDL and to other plasma hemin-binding proteins: high-density lipoprotein (HDL), albumin and hemopexin. Based on the measured rate constants of hemin association with and dissociation from each of these proteins, time-dependent hemin distribution in plasma was analyzed. The analysis shows that as much as 80% of total hemin binds initially to LDL and HDL, the plasma components which are most susceptible to oxidation. Only then hemin partially transfers to the antioxidants albumin and hemopexin. The half time of the hemin-LDL complex in plasma, initially comprising 27% of total hemin, was more than 20 s. Not only transient, but also oxidatively active steady-state hemin-lipoprotein complexes in plasma were both predicted from the kinetic analysis and found in experiment. Our data suggest that the hemin-LDL complex may exist in vivo and that its oxidative potential should be considered proatherogenic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 7 Jul 1999


  • Albumin
  • Hemin
  • Hemopexin
  • Kinetics of binding
  • Lipoprotein
  • Oxidation


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