It has been proposed that lipoxygenases, specifically 15-lipoxygenase, may play an important role in promoting the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the artery wall. It is well known that peroxides are unstable in the presence of transition metals, decomposing to form the alkoxy and peroxy radicals, and so initiating lipid peroxidation. To test whether lipoxygenase-derived peroxides may promote the oxidation of LDL in the presence of copper, the lipoprotein was enriched with lipid peroxides derived from the enzymic action of 5- and 15-lipoxygenases on either linoleic or arachidonic acid. All of these products were found to promote oxidation, whereas the related hydroxy fatty acids had no effect. This suggests that lipoxygenase-derived peroxides associated with the LDL particle may promote peroxidation in the presence of a suitable transition metal catalyst. This result has implications both for the mechanism of the potential pro-oxidant action of lipoxygenases in vivo and for the ex vivo assessment of the oxidizability of LDL samples isolated from different donors.

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