72 ° C.

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Malondialdehyde ( MDA), according to IUPAC propanedial, is a highly reactive dialdehyde. It arises as a biochemical degradation product polyunsaturated fatty acid and is an important biomarker of oxidative stress.


Pure malondialdehyde is unstable. It is commercially available usually as a dilute aqueous solution of the sodium salt of the enol. Laboratory malondialdehyde can be produced by the hydrolysis of 1,1,3,3- tetramethoxypropane in situ. Of the two possible enol isomers the trans isomer in an aqueous organic solvent and the cis-isomer is preferred.

Biological and biochemical significance

Malondialdehyde is a major degradation product in the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. It serves as a biomarker for the oxidative stress. For this, the solution to be examined, for example, blood plasma, mixed with thiobarbituric acid. One molecule of malondialdehyde reacts with thiobarbituric acid to two molecules of a pink dye having an absorption maximum at 532 nm and determined photometrically or by means of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) can be determined.

Another reagent for the quantitative determination of malondialdehyde is a hydrochloric acid alcoholic solution of 2- methylindole. The thus formed in the reaction with MDA red dye has an absorption maximum at 555 nm

In addition, the highly reactive malondialdehyde, which can react with DNA and proteins, potentially mutagenic, atherogenic and carcinogenic. Example, it can cross-link proteins through its bi-functionality.

In patients with diabetes mellitus, the MDA levels are significantly elevated in the plasma.

Further Reading

  • J. Lykkesfeldt: Malondialdehyde as biomarker of oxidative damage to lipids Caused by smoking. In: Clinica chimica acta; international journal of clinical chemistry Volume 380, Number 1-2, May 2007, pp. 50-58, ISSN 0009-8981. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2007.01.028. PMID 17,336,279th
  • K. Uchida: lipofuscin -like fluorophores originated from malondialdehyde. In: Free radical research Volume 40, Number 12, December 2006, pp. 1335-1338, ISSN 1071-5762. doi: 10.1080/10715760600902302. PMID 17,090,422th
  • DE Shuker, W. Atkin, SA Bingham, C. Leuratti, R. Singh: Malondialdehyde - DNA Adducts in relation to diet and disease risk -a letter overview of recent results. In: IARC scientific publications Volume 156, 2002, pp. 475-480, ISSN 0300-5038. PMID 12,484,237th
  • M. Dib, C. Garrel, A. Favier, V. Robin, C. Desnuelle: Can malondialdehyde be used as a biological marker of disease progression in neurodegenerative? In: Journal of neurology Volume 249, Number 4, April 2002, pp. 367-374, ISSN 0340-5354. doi: 10.1007/s004150200025. PMID 11,967,639th
  • ME Haberland, D. Fong, L. Cheng: Malondialdehyde, modified lipoproteins, and atherosclerosis. In: European Heart Journal Volume 11 Suppl E, August 1990, pp. 100-104, ISSN 0195 - 668X. PMID 2,226,517th