Effect of abscisic acid on active oxygen species, antioxidative defence system and oxidative damage in leaves of maize seedlings

M. Jiang, Jianhua ZHANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

838 Citations (Scopus)


Leaves of maize (Zea mays L.) seedlings were supplied with different concentrations of abscisic acid (ABA). Its effects on the levels of superoxide radical (O2-), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and the content of catalytic Fe, the activities of several antioxidative enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and glutathione reductase (GR), the contents of several non-enzymatic antioxidants such as ascorbate (ASC), reduced glutathione (GSH), α-tocopherol (α-TOC) and carotenoid (CAR), and the degrees of the oxidative damage to the membrane lipids and proteins were examined. Treatment with 10 and 100 μM ABA significantly increased the levels of O2- and H2O2 followed by an increase in activities of SOD, CAT, APX and GR, and the contents of ASC, GSH, α-TOC and CAR in a dose- and time-dependent pattern in leaves of maize seedlings. An oxidative damage expressed as lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation, and plasma membrane leakage did not occur except for a slight increase with 100 μM ABA treatment for 24 h. Treatment with 1,000 μM ABA led to a more abundant generation of O2- and H2O2 and a significant increase in the content of catalytic Fe, which is critical for H2O2-dependent hydroxyl radical production. The activities of these antioxidative enzymes and the contents of α-TOC and CAR were still maintained at a higher level, but no longer further enhanced when compared with the treatment of 100 μM ABA. The contents of ASC and GSH had no changes in leaves treated with 1,000 μM ABA. These results indicate that treatment with low concentrations of ABA (10 to 100 μM) induced an antioxidative defence response against oxidative damage, but a high concentration of ABA (1,000 μM) induced an excessive generation of AOS and led to an oxidative damage in plant cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1265-1273
Number of pages9
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Abscisic acid
  • Active oxygen species
  • Antioxidant defence system
  • Oxidative damage
  • Oxidative stress
  • Zea mays


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