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J Biol Chem. 1991 Nov 15;266(32):21496-503.

Effect of hydroxy substituent position on 1,4-naphthoquinone toxicity to rat hepatocytes.

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Department of Pathology, University of Linköping, Sweden.


The effect of hydroxy substitution on 1,4-naphthoquinone toxicity to cultured rat hepatocytes was studied. Toxicity of the quinones decreased in the series 5,8-dihydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone greater than 5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone greater than 1,4-naphthoquinone greater than 2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, and intracellular GSSG formation decreased in the order 5,8-dihydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone greater than 5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone much greater than 1,4-naphthoquinone much greater than 2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone. The electrophilicity of the quinones decreased in the order 1,4-naphthoquinone much greater than 5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone greater than 5,8-dihydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone much greater than 2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone. Treatment of the hepatocytes with BSO (buthionine sulfoximine) or BCNU (1,3-bis-2-chloroethyl-1-nitrosourea) increased 5-hydroxy-1, 4-naphthoquinone and 5,8-dihydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone toxicity, whereas neither BSO nor BCNU largely affected 1,4-naphthoquinone and 2-hydroxy-1, 4-naphthoquinone toxicity. Dicumarol increased the toxicity of 1,4-naphthoquinone dramatically and somewhat the toxicity of 2-hydroxy-1,4- naphthoquinone, whereas 5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone and 5,8-dihydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone toxicity increased only slightly. The toxicity of 5,8-dihydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone decreased dramatically in reduced O2 concentration, whereas 1,4-naphthoquinone, 5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, and 2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone toxicity was not largely affected. It was concluded that 5,8-dihydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone toxicity is due to free radical formation, whereas the toxicity of 1,4-naphthoquinone and of 5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone also has an electrophilic addition component. The toxicity of 2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone could not be fully explained by either of these phenomena.

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