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

Auto-oxidation of dialuric acid, divicine and isouramil. Superoxide dependent and independent mechanisms.

The toxicity of dialuric acid to pancreatic beta cells, and the haemolytic action of divicine and isouramil involve auto-oxidation and redox cycling reactions. Divicine and isouramil are produced on hydrolysis of the fava bean glycosides, vicine and convicine. The mechanism of auto-oxidation of the three compounds as well as the acid hydrolysis product of vicine (provisionally assigned the structure 2-amino-4,5,6-trihydroxypyrimidine) has been studied. All four pyrimidines auto-oxidized rapidly at neutral pH, generating H2O2 by an O2-dependent chain mechanism. Superoxide dismutase inhibited the initial oxidation, but inhibition was transitory, and after a lag period rapid oxidation occurred. The lag period varied with pH, temperature and pyrimidine concentration, and was much shorter for isouramil and divicine than for dialuric acid and acid-hydrolysed vicine. The initial rate of dialuric acid oxidation was greater and the acceleration less pronounced than with the other pyrimidines. A mechanism common to all four pyrimidines has been shown by kinetic analysis to account for nearly all the observations in the presence and absence of superoxide dismutase. Autocatalysis in the latter case is attributed mainly to the reactions reduced pyrimidine + oxidized pyrimidine in equilibrium 2 pyrimidine radical pyrimidine radical + O2----oxidized pyrimidine + O2- Rate constants for these and other reactions are reported. At pH 7.4 and 37 degrees the lag period before 100 microM acid-hydrolysed vicine underwent rapid oxidation was approx. 15 min. Isouramil and divicine at an equivalent concentration gave lags of less than 1 min, which became less at higher concentrations. Thus intracellular superoxide dismutase should provide only transitory protection against the oxidation products of dialuric acid, divicine or isouramil. Prolonged protection should only be achieved if accumulation of oxidized pyrimidine is also prevented.[1]


  1. Auto-oxidation of dialuric acid, divicine and isouramil. Superoxide dependent and independent mechanisms. Winterbourn, C.C., Cowden, W.B., Sutton, H.C. Biochem. Pharmacol. (1989) [Pubmed]
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