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

Metabolic denitrosation of N-nitrosamines: mechanism and biological consequences.

NADPH-dependent microsomal metabolism of N-nitrosamines results in both oxidative dealkylation and denitrosation of the molecule. For denitrosation, two enzymatic mechanisms have been proposed: (i) cytochrome P450 (P450)-dependent one-electron reduction of the nitrosamine molecule, resulting in the formation of nitric oxide (NO) and secondary and primary amine, and (ii) liberation of NO via an oxidative mechanism mediated by a P450-dependent one-electron abstraction. In order to clarify the mechanism of denitrosation, the metabolism and kinetics of N-nitrosodibenzylamine (NDBzA) and its corresponding secondary amine dibenzylamine were studied. The main metabolites of NDBzA are benzaldehyde, the primary amine benzylamine and nitrite. An important finding is that benzaldehyde is generated more rapidly from dibenzylamine than from the parent NDBzA. During reductive denitrosation of NDBzA, the oxygen atom in benzaldehyde is derived from air, while benzaldehyde generated via the oxidative mechanism of denitrosation receives its oxygen atom from water due to hydrolysis of the intermediary benzylidenebenzylamine. Microsomal incubation of NDBzA in buffer containing 18O-H2O resulted in no incorporation of 18O from water into benzaldehyde, which could be related to the formation of the corresponding benzaldehyde, which could be related to the formation of the corresponding benzylidenebenzylamine. It is concluded that NDBzA is denitrosated by the proposed reductive mechanism. Current belief is that denitrosation leads to detoxification of the NA molecule; however, toxic effects cannot be excluded if the conversion of NO into NO2- and NO3- involves intermediary formation of the NO2 radical.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)[1]


  1. Metabolic denitrosation of N-nitrosamines: mechanism and biological consequences. Appel, K.E., Görsdorf, S., Scheper, T., Spiegelhalder, B., Wiessler, M., Schoepke, M., Engeholm, C., Kramer, R. IARC Sci. Publ. (1991) [Pubmed]
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