Antioxidant properties of the melatonin metabolite N1-acetyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AMK): Scavenging of free radicals and prevention of protein destruction

Anna Rebekka Ressmeyer, Juan C. Mayo, Veronika Zelosko, Rosa M. Sáinz, Dun Xian Tan, Burkhard Poeggeler, Isaac Antolín, Beata K. Zsizsik, Russel J. Reiter, Rüdiger Hardeland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

205 Scopus citations


In numerous experimental systems, the neurohormone melatonin has been shown to protect against oxidative stress, an effect which appears to be the result of a combination of different actions. In this study, we have investigated the possible contribution to radical scavenging by substituted kynuramines formed from melatonin via pyrrole ring cleavage. N1-Acetyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AMK), a metabolite deriving from melatonin by mechanisms involving free radicals, exhibits potent antioxidant properties exceeding those of its direct precursor N1-acetyl-N2-formyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AFMK) and its analog N1-acetylkynuramine (AK). Scavenging of hydroxyl radicals was demonstrated by competition with ABTS in a Fenton reaction system at pH 5 and by competition with DMSO in a hemin-catalyzed H2O2 system at pH 8. Under catalysis by hemin, oxidation of AMK was accompanied by the emission of chemiluminescence. AMK was a potent reductant of ABTS cation radicals, but, in the absence of catalysts, a poor scavenger of superoxide anions. In accordance with the latter observation, AMK was fairly stable in a pH 8 H2O2 system devoid of hemin. Contrary to AFMK, AMK was easily oxidized in a reaction mixture generating carbonate radicals. In an oxidative protein destruction assay based on peroxyl radical formation, AMK proved to be highly protective. No pro-oxidant properties of AMK were detected in a sensitive biological test system based on light emission by the bioluminescent dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedrum. AMK may contribute to the antioxidant properties of the indolic precursor melatonin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-213
Number of pages9
JournalRedox Report
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry, medical


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