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

Metabolic activation of 4-hydroxyanisole by isolated rat hepatocytes.

A tyrosinase-directed therapeutic approach for treating malignant melanoma uses depigmenting phenolic prodrugs such as 4-hydroxyanisole (4-HA) for oxidation by melanoma tyrosinase to form cytotoxic o-quinones. However, in a recent clinical trial, both renal and hepatic toxicity were reported as side effects of 4-HA therapy. In the following, 4-HA (200 mg/kg i.p.) administered to mice caused a 7-fold increase in plasma transaminase toxicity, an indication of liver toxicity. Furthermore, 4-HA induced-cytotoxicity toward isolated hepatocytes was preceded by glutathione (GSH) depletion, which was prevented by cytochrome p450 inhibitors that also partly prevented cytotoxicity. The 4-HA metabolite formed by NADPH/microsomes and GSH was identified as a hydroquinone mono-glutathione conjugate. GSH-depleted hepatocytes were much more prone to cytotoxicity induced by 4-HA or its reactive metabolite hydroquinone (HQ). Dicumarol (an NAD(P)H/quinone oxidoreductase inhibitor) also potentiated 4-HA- or HQ-induced toxicity whereas sorbitol, an NADH-generating nutrient, prevented the cytotoxicity. Ethylenediamine (an o-quinone trap) did not prevent 4-HA-induced cytotoxicity, which suggests that the cytotoxicity was not caused by o-quinone as a result of 4-HA ring hydroxylation. Deferoxamine and the antioxidant pyrogallol/4-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidene-1-oxyl (TEMPOL) did not prevent 4-HA-induced cytotoxicity, therefore excluding oxidative stress as a cytotoxic mechanism for 4-HA. A negligible amount of formaldehyde was formed when 4-HA was incubated with rat microsomal/NADPH. These results suggest that the 4-HA cytotoxic mechanism involves alkylation of cellular proteins by 4-HA epoxide or p-quinone rather than involving oxidative stress.[1]


  1. Metabolic activation of 4-hydroxyanisole by isolated rat hepatocytes. Moridani, M.Y., Cheon, S.S., Khan, S., O'Brien, P.J. Drug Metab. Dispos. (2002) [Pubmed]
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