Density functional theory study of the role of benzylic hydrogen atoms in the antioxidant properties of lignans Academic Article uri icon


  • Antioxidants are a diverse group of chemicals with proven health benefits and thus potential preventive medicine and therapeutic applications. While most of these compounds are natural products, determining their mechanism of radical scavenging and common motifs that contribute to antioxidant activity would allow the rational design of novel antioxidants. Here the origins of the antioxidant properties of ten natural products of the lignan family were studied in silico by calculating their thermochemical properties by using ROB3LYP/6-311++G(2df,2p)//B3LYP/6-311G(d,p) model chemistry. Three conditions were modelled: gas phase, ethanol and water solvents. The results allowed assigning the antioxidant activity to specific moieties and structural features of these compounds. It was found that the benzylic hydrogen atoms are the most likely to be abstracted to form radicals and hence define antioxidant properties in most of the studied compounds. The results also suggested that the most likely mechanism of HOO• radical scavenging differs by the key moiety: it is hydrogen atom transfer in case the benzylic C-H bonds, however it is proton coupled electron transfer in case of the compounds where O-H bonds are responsible for radical scavenging.

publication date

  • 2018