The natural polyamine spermine functions directly as a free radical scavenger

Hyo Chol Ha, Nilantha S. Sirisoma, Periannan Kuppusamy, Jay L. Zweier, Patrick M. Woster, Robert A. Casero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The polyamines are small organic cations that are absolutely required for eukaryotic cell growth. Although their growth requirements are well established, the molecular functions of the polyamines are ill-defined. Oxidative damage to DNA by reactive oxygen species is a continual problem that cells must guard against to survive. The polyamine spermine, which is normally found in millimolar concentrations in the nucleus, is shown here to function directly as a free radical scavenger, and adducts formed as a result of this function are identified. These data suggest that spermine is a major natural intracellular compound capable of protecting DNA from free radical attack.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11140-11145
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number19
StatePublished - Sep 15 1998

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