Evaluation of plasma low molecular weight antioxidant capacity by cyclic voltammetry

Shlomit Chevion, Elliot M. Berry, Nahum Kitrossky, Ron Kohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


The low molecular weight antioxidants (LMWA) of biological samples include many compounds and contribute to the total antioxidant capacity of the system. They act as direct chemical scavengers neutralizing, reactive oxygen-derived species (ROS), and contribute to the ability of the sample to cope with oxidative stress. We propose cyclic voltammetry (CV) as a new method for evaluating the antioxidant capacity of plasma-LMWA and the severity of oxidative stress exerted on the plasma. It is based on the reducing properties of these molecules. CV has been proven to be a simple, sensitive and reliable method. Its tracing does not change during storage of frozen plasma for up to six months. We analyzed the CV tracings by the oxidation potential E( 1/4 ), and the current heights Ia of its anodic wave(s). E( 1/4 ) indicates the specific component of the LMWA and its ability to donate electron(s); Ia indicates the concentration of this component. Two anodic waves have been identified in human plasma, at E( 1/4 ) = 420 ± 25 and 920 ± 25 mV. Ascorbate (AA) and urate (UA) were identified as major LMWA components of the first anodic wave, and were confirmed by HPLC-electrochemical detection. Ia was shown to depend linearly on the concentration of either of these LMWA, both in buffer and in plasma. Oxidative stress exerted by exposure to peroxyl radicals, copper ions and ionizing irradiation caused marked changes in the CV tracing. These changes represent corresponding alterations particularly in Ia, rather than in E( 1/4 ). The Ia and E( 1/4 ) values reflect the antioxidant capacity of the plasma, while the change of Ia value represents the severity of the oxidative stress induced.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)411-421
Number of pages11
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been supported, in part, by grants from the Israeli Ministry of Health and from the Bergman Foundation of The Authority for Research and Development of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Nestle R and D. We gratefully thank Professor Amram Samuni for critically reviewing the manuscript and for many valuable comments. We thank Ms. R. Schwartz for her assistance.


  • Antioxidant Capacity
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Cyclic Voltammetry
  • Free radicals
  • Low Molecular Weight Antioxidant
  • Method
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Plasma
  • Uric Acid


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