Natural Sources Of Lipoic Acid

Lipoic acid is an eight-carbon compound containing two sulfur atoms in a (dithiolane) ring structure. The naturally occurring form is present bound to a lysine residue in the four a-keto-acid dehydrogenase complexes of the mitochondria, which catalyze the oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate, a-ketoglutarate, and branched-chain a-keto acids, respectively. These complexes all share similarities in both structure and function (1). The role of lipoic acid is to transfer an acyl group from the decarboxylated acid to coenzyme A. During this process, the lipoyl moiety is reduced and then reoxidized by the enzyme lipoamide dehydrogenase in order to keep the catalytic cycle in motion. The redox properties of lipoic acid make it ideal for such a function. As such, lipoic acid plays a crucial role in metabolism.

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