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Arch Dermatol Res. 2013 Jul;305(5):447-51. doi: 10.1007/s00403-013-1332-y. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

Detection of fumarate-glutathione adducts in the portal vein blood of rats: evidence for rapid dimethylfumarate metabolism.

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  • 1Psoriasis-Center at the Department of Dermatology, University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Kiel, Germany.


Dimethylfumarate (DMF), the essential ingredient of the drug product Fumaderm®, is used to treat psoriasis with a recognized favorable long-term safety profile. Interestingly, the mode of action and the pharmacokinetics of DMF in psoriasis or multiple sclerosis are not fully explored. It is known that DMF as an α,β-unsaturated carboxylic acid ester forms an adduct with the antioxidant glutathione in vitro via a Michael-type addition within a very short period of time. In addition, it was shown that this reaction also takes place in vivo since the mercapturic acid of DMF was detected in urine of psoriasis patients after oral intake of Fumaderm®. To verify the hypothesis that DMF reacts with GSH already in or even before entering the portal vein blood an in vivo study in rats was initiated and portal vein blood was analyzed for the presence of DMF, MMF, GS-DMS and break down products, after DMF was given directly into the small intestine. The results show that no free DMF could be detected in the rat portal vein blood at any time point. MMF was the dominant metabolite and GS-DMS was also detectable in portal vein blood. In the rat mucosa the glutathione adducts of DMF and MMF were present. The data obtained provide evidence that the modulation of immune-mediated inflammatory pathways responsible for development of psoriasis and MS are targeted by DMF regulating redox-sensitive pathways for which the reaction with glutathione by DMF plays a crucial role.

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