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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of trivalent antimony on human erythrocyte glutathione-S-transferases.

Trivalent antimony (SB3+) in the form of potassium antimony tartrate was found to be an inhibitor of glutathione-S-transferases (GST) from human erythrocytes with a 50% inhibition concentration (IC50) of 0.05 mM. The inhibition was, however, incomplete with 15-20% of the GST activity remaining unaffected. In comparison, ethacrynic acid, a known inhibitor of GST, was tenfold more potent and affected close to 100% inhibition. Pentavalent antimony (SB5+) in the form of sodium stibogluconate had no effect on GST. Group V metalloids such as arsenite was slightly inhibitory, and arsenate was noninhibitory. When compared with five heavy metals, the inhibitory potency followed the order of SB3+ > Hg2+, Cu2+ > Cd 2+ > Cr3+ > Fe2+ x SB3+ inhibition of GST was competitive against the substrate 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (CDNB) with an apparent Ki of 0.018 mM. Increasing the glutathione (GSH) concentration, however, produced a biphasic response: at concentrations below 1 mM, GSH was noncompetitive against SB3+, but at 1 mM and higher it was apparently competitive. A concurrent study of interactions between GSH, CDNB, and SB3+ showed that there was a significant nonenzymatic conjugation of CDNB at high GSH concentrations, which was suppressed by SB3+. The presence of albumin (500 mg/dL), or up to 5 mM N-acetylcysteine, cysteine, or ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) did not protect GST from the inhibitory effect of SB3+. The ability of erythrocyte GST to conjugate CDNB, which was measured directly by the formation of dinitrophenyl-glutathione (DNP-glutathione), was reduced by approximately 20 and 33%, respectively, in the presence of 2 and 10 mM SB3+, and nearly abolished with the addition of 0.2 mM ethacrynic acid. Based on these inhibition characteristics and the preferential accumulation of SB3+ in mammalian erythrocytes, it may be deduced that in the case of high antimonial intake, for example, during therapeutic treatment of Leishmaniasis, SB3+ levels in erythrocytes may be high enough to depress GST activity, which might compromise the ability of erythrocytes to detoxify electrophilic xenotbiotics.[1]


  1. Effects of trivalent antimony on human erythrocyte glutathione-S-transferases. Poon, R., Chu, I. J. Biochem. Mol. Toxicol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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