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

Borate and molybdate inhibition of catechol estrogen and pyrocatechol methylation by catechol-O-methyltransferase.

The possibility that boron and molybdenum anions can influence sex steroid metabolism by forming complexes with catechol estrogens has been studied in vitro. The formation of 2-methoxyestrone (2-OHE1 2-Me) from 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1) by catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) was followed by measuring the transfer of the radiolabeled methyl group from S-adenosylmethionine. In the presence of both sodium tetraborate and sodium molybdate using a phosphate buffer medium, the formation of 2-OHE1 2-Me decreased as the anion:2-OHE1 molar ratio was increased. However, the reverse effect was observed when using a tris buffer medium and further investigation showed that phosphate and sulphate also enhanced COMT activity in a tris buffer medium. Boric acid affinity medium, used as a substitute for borate salt, also showed a negative relationship with enzyme activity in a phosphate buffer medium, and inhibition of methylation was more marked than with the free anion. Erythrocytes contain appreciable amounts of COMT, which is mostly responsible for the rapid O-methylation of catechol estrogens in blood. The methylation of a simple catechol compound, 1,2-dihydroxybenzene (pyrocatechol) was therefore studied using rat red blood cell lysates. Methylation was inhibited in a concentration-related manner by borate, as found in the studies of 2-OHE1. It is possible that high dietary intakes of boron or molybdenum could regulate the rate of catabolism, or even the metabolic fate of the major estrogens.[1]


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