Biochemical pharmacology

Diethyldithiocarbamate (ditiocarb sodium) effect on arachidonic acid metabolism in human mononuclear cells. Glutathione peroxidase-like activity.

PMID 1314059


Diethyldithiocarbamate (DTC), a thiol delivery agent, has been shown to significantly reduce the frequency of primary opportunistic infections in HIV-infected patients. This therapeutic effect has been related to the capacity of DTC to reverse the deleterious effects of the oxidative stress occurring in HIV infection. The influence of DTC on the oxygenated metabolism of arachidonic acid (AA) was investigated in mitogen-stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Upon incubation with PBMC previously labelled with [3H]AA, Concanavalin A (Con A) markedly increased cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase activities, within 30 min, as judged by thromboxane B2 (TxB2) and hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (HETE) production. Con A activation of [3H]AA platelets also increased 12-HETE production but did not induce any TxB2 synthesis. Micromolar concentrations of DTC, added simultaneously with the mitogen, significantly enhanced the synthesis of HETEs above the Con A-induced level while TxB2-induced synthesis was inhibited but only at DTC concentrations higher than 50 microM. In the presence of nordihydroguaiaretic acid, a lipoxygenase inhibitor, which inhibited the Con A-induced synthesis of HETEs by 78%, DTC no longer stimulated HETE production above the Con A-induced level. Reverse phase HPLC analysis showed that Con A increased the PBMC production of 5-, 12- and 15-HETEs. In the presence of 5 microM DTC, 5-HETE production was entirely suppressed whereas the 15-HETE level was markedly enhanced, 12-HETE production by the contaminating platelets remained unchanged. In vitro experiments indicated that DTC alone did not significantly influence 15-hydroperoxyeicosatetraenoic (15-HPETE) production by the soybean 15-lipoxygenase but, in the presence of added reduced glutathione, DTC markedly reduced 15-HPETE into 15-HETE. In addition, DTC was able to substitute for cellular extract in the glutathione peroxidase (GPx) assay system. Taken together, these results indicate that DTC, through its "GPx-like" activity is able to modify the lipoxygenase cascade. Its ability to selectively reduce 15-HPETE known to stimulate immunosuppressive T-cells might help to explain its positive regulatory effect upon the immune system.