Oxidative modifications of LDL are involved in atherogenesis. Previously we have developed a simple assay to evaluate the susceptibility of lipids to copper-induced peroxidation in the relatively natural milieu of unfractionated serum in the presence of excess citrate. Based on our previous results we have proposed that the inducer of peroxidation in our optimized assay is a copper-citrate complex. Recent investigations indicate that under certain conditions a copper-albumin complex may induce peroxidation of ascorbate. Two different complexes may be formed in albumin-containing systems (e.g. serum) namely 1:1 and 2:1 copper-albumin complexes. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the possibility that at least one of these complexes may be responsible for the induction of peroxidation of lipids in lipidic systems containing copper and albumin, including our optimized assay. Towards this end, we have investigated the dependence of copper-induced peroxidation on the concentration of added albumin in lipidic systems in the absence and presence of citrate. In all the systems investigated in this study (PLPC liposomes, LDL, HDL and mixtures of HDL and LDL) we found that at low concentrations of free copper (e.g. in the presence of excess citrate) the 2:1 copper-albumin complex is redox-active and that this complex is the major contributor to the initiation of lipid peroxidation in these systems and in our optimized assay. The possible relevance of the induction of peroxidation in vivo by the latter complex has yet to be studied.
- Copper-albumin complexes