Putrescine-modified catalase with preserved enzymatic activity exhibits increased permeability at the blood-nerve and blood-brain barriers

Thomas M. Wengenack, Geoffrey L. Curran, Ellen E. Olson, Joseph F. Poduslo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Much evidence exists in support of the hypothesis that free radicals contribute to the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative disorders and that mechanisms of free radical generation occur both intracellularly and extracellularly. Previous studies in this laboratory have shown that covalent modification of growth factors and antioxidant enzymes with the naturally occurring polyamine, putrescine, increases their permeability at the blood-nerve and blood-brain barriers (BNB and BBB), but does not significantly inhibit bioactivity. Furthermore, putrescine-modified superoxide dismutase (SOD) was shown to reduce neurodegeneration in a rat model of global cerebral ischemia. The purpose of the present study was to modify the antioxidant enzyme, catalase (CAT), with putrescine (PUT) at carboxylic acid groups whose ionization, and hence reactivity, was controlled with pH and investigate the effects on permeability and enzymatic activity. Modification of CAT with PUT increased its permeability 2-3-fold and preserved 67% of its enzymatic activity compared to native CAT and 137% compared to lyophilized CAT. The results of this study indicate that modification of CAT with putrescine increases its permeability while preserving enzymatic activity. PUT-SOD administered in combination with PUT-CAT may eliminate both the superoxide radical and the H2O2 produced from the dismutation of superoxide, respectively, and thus prevent the formation of hydroxyl radicals. This combination may exhibit increased neuroprotective effects, compared to native enzymes, following systemic administration for the treatment of free radical associated neurodegenerative disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-135
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 29 1997


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Blood-nerve barrier
  • Catalase
  • Free radical
  • Patrescine
  • Polyamine
  • Superoxide dismutase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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