Biological membranes are complex mixtures of lipids that aggregate to form the lipid bilayer structure. Phospholipids are key architectural components of membranes and these phospholipids are themselves highly oxidizable if they have significant polyunsaturation. Autoxidation of phospholipids proceeds to give many different peroxide products by a mechanism that is essentially the same as the mechanism for autoxidation of fatty acids or esters in the bulk phase or in inert organic solvents. This mechanism is understood reasonably well and products isolated from phospholipid autoxidation may be described based upon this general autoxidation mechanism. High pressure liquid chromatography methods for separation of complex phospholipid mixtures, including their oxidation products, have been developed and kinetic methods long used to study autoxidation in organic solvents have been translated to study autoxidation of micelles or phospholipid aggregates such as liposomes. The current status of research in this field is reviewed.
- lipid peroxidation