LDL in the circulation is well protected against oxidation by the highly efficient antioxidant defense mechanisms of human plasma. LDL oxidation contributing to atherosclerosis, therefore, has been hypothesized to take place in the interstitial fluid of the arterial wall. We investigated the antioxidant composition and the capacity to inhibit LDL oxidation of human suction blister interstitial fluid (SBIF), a suitable representative of interstitial fluid. We found that the concentrations in SBIF of the aqueous small-molecule antioxidants ascorbate and urate were, respectively, significantly higher (P < 0.05) and identical to plasma concentrations. In contrast, lipoprotein-associated lipids and lipid-soluble antioxidants (alpha-tocopherol, ubiquinol-10, lycopene, and beta-carotene) were present at only 8-23% of the concentrations in plasma. No lipid hydroperoxides could be detected ( < 5 nM) in either fluid. The capacity of serum and SBIF to protect LDL from oxidation was investigated in three metal ion-dependent systems: copper, iron, and murine macrophages in Ham's F-10 medium. In all three systems, addition of > or = 6% (vol/vol) of either serum or SBIF inhibited LDL oxidation by > 90%. The concentration that inhibited macrophage-mediated LDL oxidation by 50% was as low as 0.3% serum and 0.7% SBIF. The enzymatic or physical removal of ascorbate or urate and other low molecular weight components did not affect the ability of either fluid to prevent LDL oxidation, and the high molecular weight fraction was as protective as whole serum or SBIF. These data demonstrate that both serum and SBIF very effectively protect LDL from metal ion-dependent oxidation, most probably because of a cumulative metal-binding effect of several proteins. Our data suggest that LDL in the interstitial fluid of the arterial wall is very unlikely to get modified by metal ion-mediated oxidation.
A J Dabbagh, B Frei