Asbestos catalyzes hydroxyl and superoxide radical generation from hydrogen peroxide

Sigmund A. Weitzman*, Philip Graceffa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

238 Scopus citations


To understand chemical characteristics of the asbestos minerals which might contribute to tissue damage, the catalytic properties of three different varieties were studied. Using spin trapping techniques it was determined that crocidolite, chrysotile, and amosite asbestos were all able to catalyze the generation of toxic hydroxyl radicals from a normal byproduct of tissue metabolism, hydrogen peroxide. The iron chelator desferroxamine inhibits this reaction, indicating a major role for iron in the catalytic process, and suggesting a possible mechanism by which asbestos toxicity might be reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-376
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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