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Chem Res Toxicol. 2001 Jul;14(7):841-8.

Catechin metabolism: glutathione conjugate formation catalyzed by tyrosinase, peroxidase, and cytochrome p450.

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Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Ontario M5S 2S2, Canada.


The metabolic pathways of dietary flavonoids are still largely unknown. In the present work, mass spectrometry and UV-vis spectroscopy studies were used to show that the naturally occurring flavonoid catechin underwent enzymatic oxidation by tyrosinase in the presence of glutathione (GSH) to form mono-, bi-, and tri-glutathione conjugates of catechin and mono- and bi-glutathione conjugates of a catechin dimer. A hydroxylated catechin adduct was also detected. Using UV spectroscopy, it was shown that the catechol B-ring of catechin was oxidized by tyrosinase to form an o-quinone which could be reduced back to catechin with potassium borohydride or reacted with GSH to form glutathione conjugates. The catechin-glutathione conjugates formed had much lower distribution coefficient values than catechin itself. When peroxidase and hydrogen peroxide were used instead of tyrosinase, only mono-glutathione conjugates were formed but not bi-glutathione conjugates or hydroxylated adducts. (1)H NMR evidence showed that three different mono-glutathione conjugates on ring B of catechin were formed by peroxidase and hydrogen peroxide. Rat liver microsomes and NADPH or cumene hydroperoxide also catalyzed catechin-glutathione conjugate formation which was prevented by benzylimidazole, a P450 2E1 inhibitor. Catechin cytotoxicity toward isolated hepatocytes was also markedly enhanced by hydrogen peroxide or cumene hydroperoxide and was prevented by benzylimidazole, suggesting that catechin could be metabolically activated by P450 peroxidase activity to form cytotoxic quinoid species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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