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J Med Chem. 2000 Mar 9;43(5):1029-33.

N-Terminal dipeptides of D(-)-penicillamine as sequestration agents for acetaldehyde.

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  • 1Medical Research Laboratories, VA Medical Centers, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417, USA.


Since acetaldehyde (AcH), a toxic oxidation product of ethanol, may play an etiologic role in the initiation of alcoholic liver disease, we had earlier pioneered the development of beta, beta-disubstituted-beta-mercapto-alpha-amino acids as AcH-sequestering agents. We now report the synthesis of a series of N-terminal dipeptides of D(-)-penicillamine, prepared from the synthon 3-formyl-2,2,5,5-tetramethylthiazolidine-4S-carboxylic acid (3), a cyclized N-protected derivative of D(-)-penicillamine. These dipeptides were equally or more effective than penicillamine in trapping AcH in a cell-free system. In experiments using a hepatocyte culture system, two of the dipeptides, D-penicillamylglycine (6a) and D-penicillamyl-beta-alanine (6d), at 1/20 the molar concentration of ethanol, lowered the concentration of ethanol-derived AcH by 79% and 84%, respectively, at 2 h. The presence of cyanamide (an inhibitor of aldehyde dehydrogenase) in the incubation medium resulted in a 45-fold increase in ethanol-derived AcH; nevertheless, dipeptides 6a and 6c (D-penicillamyl-alpha-aminoisobutyric acid) were able to reduce this AcH level by approximately one-third.

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