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

Radical generation, radical-scavenging activity, and cytotoxicity of eugenol-related compounds.

To clarify the possible link between radicals and cytotoxicity of eugenol-related compounds, dimeric compounds were synthesized from eugenol (4-allyl-2-methoxy-phenol), butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) (2-t-butyl-4-methoxyphenol) or MMP (2 methoxy-4-methylphenol); bis-EUG (3,3'-dimethoxy-5,5'-di-2-propenyl-1,1'-biphenyl-2,2'-diol), bis-BHA (3,3'-di-t-butyl-5,5'-dimethoxy-1,1'-biphenyl-2,2'-diol), and bis-MMP (3,3'-di-methoxy-5,5'-dimethyl-1,1'-biphenyl-2,2'-diol). The cytotoxic activity of these compounds was determined using a salivary gland tumor cell line ( HSG), oral squamous cell carcinoma cell line (HSC-2) and human promyelocytic leukemia cell line (HL-60). A parabolic relationship between the cytotoxicity and log P (the octanol-water partition coefficient) was observed, showing that both BHA and bis-MMP, with a log P of 3-4, were the most cytotoxic. The cytotoxic activity of the 2-methoxy derivatives, eugenol, MMP and bis-MMP, against HSG cells was significantly enhanced by visible-light irradiation, possibly due to their high redox potential. Electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy indicated that eugenol and BHA alone produced radicals under alkaline conditions (pH > 9.5), and eugenol most efficiently scavenges reactive oxygen species (O2-). Antioxidative reactivity of eugenol-related compounds was determined by measuring the inhibiting periods of the AIBN (2,2'-azobisisobutyronitrile)/MMA (methyl methacrylate) polymerization system, and the number of moles of peroxy radical trapped by moles of the relevant phenols (stoichiometric factor, n). It was found that the n values of eugenol and MMP were approximately 1, whereas those of BHA >2, suggesting that eugenol and MMP undergo dimerization through radical-radical couplings through quinone methides, whereas BHA undergoes the competitive interaction with poly-MMA radicals after oxidation by AIBN-peroxy radicals. BHA was an efficient peroxy radical-scavenger, but possibly reacted with polymer radicals of the lipid, thus mediating the cytotoxicity. The n value of bis-BHA was two, whereas those of bis-EUG and bis-MMP were 1.6-1.7, suggesting that the latter were further oxidized. The enthalpies of phenoxyl radical formation were determined using the semi-empirical PM3 quantum-mechanical method and the possible link to redox potential was discussed.[1]


  1. Radical generation, radical-scavenging activity, and cytotoxicity of eugenol-related compounds. Fujisawa, S., Atsumi, T., Satoh, K., Kadoma, Y., Ishihara, M., Okada, N., Nagasaki, M., Yokoe, I., Sakagami, H. In vitro & molecular toxicology. (2000) [Pubmed]
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