Kozlowski, D., Marsal, P., Steel, M., Mokrini, R., Duroux, J-L., Lazzaroni, R. and Trouillas, P. Theoretical Investigation of the Formation of a New Series of Antioxidant Depsides from the Radiolysis of Flavonoid Compounds. Radiat. Res. 168, 243–252 (2007).
This paper deals with the formation of a series of antioxidant depsides obtained from flavonoid solutions irradiated with γ rays. These reactions take place in radiolyzed alcohol solutions, a medium that is very rich in many different highly reactive species and that hosts specific reactions. We focus on the first step of those reactions, i.e., reactivity of the solute (flavonoid) with the alkoxy radicals CH3O· and CH3CH2O· formed in methanol and ethanol, respectively, and their carbon-centered isomers: the 1-hydroxy-methyl (·CH2OH) and the 1-hydroxy-ethyl (CH3·CHOH) radicals. Among the different flavonoid groups of molecules, only flavonols are transformed. To establish the structure–reactivity relationship that explains why the radiolytic transformation occurs only for those compounds, the process is rationalized theoretically, with Density Functional Theory calculations, taking into account the solvent effects by a Polarizable Continuum Model and a microhydrated environment (one or two water molecules surrounding the active center). The first redox reaction, occurring between the flavonol and the reactive species formed upon irradiation of the solvent, is studied in terms of (1) the O-H bond dissociation enthalpy of each OH group of the flavonoids and (2) electron abstraction from the molecule. We conclude that the reaction, initiated preferentially by the alkoxy radicals, first occurs at the 3-OH group of the flavonol. It is then followed by the formation of a peroxyl radical (after molecular oxygen or superoxide addition). The different cascades of reactions, which lead to the formation of depsides via C-ring opening, are discussed on the basis of the corresponding calculated energetic schemes.