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

Photochemical sensitization by azathioprine and its metabolites. Part 3. A direct EPR and spin-trapping study of light-induced free radicals from 6-mercaptopurine and its oxidation products.

Sunlight has been implicated in the high incidence of skin cancer found in patients receiving 6-mercaptopurine (PSH) in the form of its pro-drug azathioprine. In this study we have used EPR spectroscopy in conjunction with the spin-trapping technique to determine whether PSH and its metabolic or photochemical oxidation products generate highly reactive free radicals upon UV irradiation. When an aqueous anaerobic solution (pH 5 or 9) of PSH (pKa = 7.7) and either 2-methyl-2-nitrosopropane (MNP) or nitromethane (NM) were irradiated (lambda > 300 nm) with a Xe arc lamp, the corresponding purine-6-thiyl (PS.) radical adduct and the reduced form of the spin trap (MNP/H. or CH3NO2.-) were observed. However, no radical adducts were detected when PSH and 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide (DMPO) were irradiated (lambda = 320 nm) in oxygen-free buffer. These findings suggest that PSH does not photoionize but that instead MNP and NM are reduced by direct electron transfer from excited state PSH, 1.3(PSH)*. In aerobic solution, oxygen can act as an electron acceptor and the O2.- and PS. radicals are formed and trapped by DMPO. 6-Mercaptopurine did photoionize when irradiated with a Nd:YAG laser at 355 nm as evidenced by the appearance of the DMPO/H.(eq- + H+) adduct, which decreased in intensity in the presence of N2O. 1.3(6-Mercaptopurine)* oxidized ascorbate, formate and reduced glutathione to the corresponding ascorbyl, CO2.- or glutathiyl radicals. The photochemical behavior of 6-thioxanthine and 6-thiouric acid was similar to PSH. However, the excited states of these metabolic oxidation products exhibited stronger reducing properties than 1.3(PSH)*.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)[1]


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