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Chem Res Toxicol. 2008 Jul;21(7):1324-9. doi: 10.1021/tx8000797. Epub 2008 Jun 28.

Problematic detoxification of estrogen quinones by NAD(P)H-dependent quinone oxidoreductase and glutathione-S-transferase.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 833 South Wood Street, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


Estrogen exposure through early menarche, late menopause, and hormone replacement therapy increases the risk factor for hormone-dependent cancers. Although the molecular mechanisms are not completely established, DNA damage by quinone electrophilic reactive intermediates, derived from estrogen oxidative metabolism, is strongly implicated. A current hypothesis has 4-hydroxyestrone-o-quinone (4-OQE) acting as the proximal estrogen carcinogen, forming depurinating DNA adducts via Michael addition. One aspect of this hypothesis posits a key role for NAD(P)H-dependent quinone oxidoreductase (NQO1) in the reduction of 4-OQE and protection against estrogen carcinogenesis, despite two reports that 4-OQE is not a substrate for NQO1. 4-OQE is rapidly and efficiently trapped by GSH, allowing measurement of NADPH-dependent reduction of 4-OQE in the presence and absence of NQO1. 4-OQE was observed to be a substrate for NQO1, but the acceleration of NADPH-dependent reduction by NQO1 over the nonenzymic reaction is less than 10-fold and at more relevant nanomolar concentrations of substrate is less than 2-fold. An alternative detoxifying enzyme, glutathione-S-transferase, was observed to be a target for 4-OQE, rapidly undergoing covalent modification. These results indicate that a key role for NQO1 and GST in direct detoxification of 4-hydroxy-estrogen quinones is problematic.

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