Chemico-biological interactions

Glutathione conjugate formation without N-demethylation during the peroxidase catalysed N-oxidation of N,N',N,N'-tetramethylbenzidine.

PMID 3028652


The mechanism of peroxidative N-dealkylation of alkylamines proceeds via one-electron oxidation to the iminium cation which reacts with water to give the N-hydroxymethyl derivative which decomposes to formaldehyde and the N-demethylated product. This reaction is normally inhibited by glutathione by reduction of the cation radical with subsequent formation of oxidized glutathione (GSSG) with oxygen uptake. It was found that the horseradish peroxidase catalyzed N-demthylation of N,N,N',N'-tetramethylbenzidine (N4-TMB) in the presence of glutathione leads to the formation of water-soluble metabolites identified by high field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and fast atom bombardment (FAB) mass spectrometry as 3,3'-(diglutathion-S-yl) and 2,2'-(diglutathion-S-yl)-N4-TMB. Smaller amounts of (monoglutathion-S-yl)-N4-TMB were also found. Only trace amounts of GSSG were formed and no oxygen uptake was observed. Electron spin resonance (ESR) spectrometry in the presence of 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide (DMPO) did not indicate the presence of a DMPO-glutathionyl adduct. These results indicate that glutathione inhibited the N-demethylation of N4-TMB under the described reaction conditions not by reduction of the cation radical but by conjugate formation. The mechanism of N-demethylation must involve removal of two successive electrons to give the benzoquinone-diimine which undergoes rearrangement to the iminium cation followed by reaction with water.

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N,N,N′,N′-Tetramethylbenzidine, ≥95% (HPLC)