Indirect evidence suggests that an abnormal increase in reducing power (reductive stress) may be associated with abnormal clinical states. We have recently proposed that under such conditions biomolecules with electrophilic methyl groups (EMGs) bound to positively charged nitrogen or sulfur moieties may act as electron acceptors and that this poising mechanism may entail the generation of methane gas. Here we report for the first time the generation of methane by rat liver mitochondria. We also report the formation of methane from choline in the presence of hydrogen peroxide, catalytic iron, and ascorbic acid. In this system, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are formed from the ascorbate molecule in parallel with methane generation. In view of these findings, we try to explain the essential role of biomolecules with EMG moiety. We hypothesize that this concerted reaction may be a defensive response to reductive stress and may provide the protection needed against redox imbalance in living systems.
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