Hypochlorite-induced damage to nucleosides: formation of chloramines and nitrogen-centered radicals

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Stimulated monocytes and neutrophils generate hypochlorite (HOCl) via the release of the enzyme myeloperoxidase and hydrogen peroxide. HOCl is a key bactericidal agent, but can also damage host tissue. As there is a strong link between chronic inflammation and some cancers, we have investigated HOCl damage to DNA bases. We show that reaction of HOCl with the exocyclic -NH(2) groups of cytidine, adenosine, and guanosine, and the ring NH groups of all bases, yields chloramines (RNHCl/RR'NCl). These are the major initial products. Chloramine decay can be accelerated by UV light and metal ions, and these reactions, together with thermal decomposition, give rise to nucleoside-derived nitrogen-centered radicals. Evidence is presented for the rapid addition of pyrimidine-derived nitrogen-centered radicals to another parent molecule to give dimers. Experiments with nucleoside mixtures show that the propensity for radical formation is cytidine > adenosine = guanosine > uridine = thymidine. These data are inconsistent with the selectivity of HOCl attack and the stability of the resulting chloramines, but can be rationalized if chlorine transfer between bases is rapid and yields the most stable chloramine, with such transfer preceding radical formation. Thus, though thymidine is the major initial site of chloramine formation, rapid chlorine atom transfer generates cytidine and adenosine chloramines. These reactions rationalize the preferential formation of chlorinated cytidine and adenosine in DNA.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1071-81
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2001

    Research areas

  • Adenosine, Carcinogens, Chloramines, DNA Damage, Free Radicals, Hypochlorous Acid, Monocytes, Neutrophils, Nitrogen, Nucleosides

ID: 138279835