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Free Radic Biol Med. 1989;7(4):435-77.

Redox and addition chemistry of quinoid compounds and its biological implications.

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Department of Pathology II, University of Linköping, Sweden.


The overall biological activity of quinones is a function of the physico-chemical properties of these compounds, which manifest themselves in a critical bimolecular reaction with bioconstituents. Attempts have been made to characterize this bimolecular reaction as a function of the redox properties of quinones in relation to hydrophobic or hydrophilic environments. The inborn physico-chemical properties of quinones are discussed on the basis of their reduction potential and dissociation constants, as well as the effect of environmental factors on these properties. Emphasis is given on the effect of methyl-, methoxy-, hydroxy-, and glutathionyl substituents on the reduction potential of quinones and the subsequent electron transfer processes. The redox chemistry of quinoid compounds is surveyed in terms of a) reactions involving only electron transfer, as those accomplished during the enzymic reduction of quinones and the non-enzymic interaction with redox couples generating semiquinones, and b) nucleophilic addition reactions. The addition of nucleophiles, entailing either oxidation or reduction of the quinone, are exemplified in reactions with oxygen- or sulfur nucleophiles, respectively. The former yields quinone epoxides, whereas the latter yields thioether-hydroquinone adducts as primary molecular products. The subsequent chemistry of these products is examined in terms of enzymic reduction, autoxidation, cross-oxidation, disproportionation, and free radical interactions. The detailed chemical mechanisms by which quinoid compounds exert cytotoxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic effects are considered individually in relation to redox cycling, alterations of thiol balance and Ca++ homeostasis, and covalent binding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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