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Biochem Pharmacol. 1988 Jul 1;37(13):2585-93.

Preparation, toxicity and mutagenicity of 1-methyl-2-nitrosoimidazole. A toxic 2-nitroimidazole reduction product.

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Physics Division, Ontario Cancer Institute, Toronto, Canada.


1-Methyl-2-nitrosoimidazole (INO), the 2-electron reduction product of 1-methyl-2-nitroimidazole (INO2), was prepared by electrochemical reduction of INO2 to 2-hydroxylamino-1-methyl-imidazole (INHOH), followed by back oxidation with iodine. Although stable in crystalline form, INO reacted in water, phosphate-buffered saline, and mammalian cell growth medium. Half-lives for decay were determined by UV-visible spectroscopy. INO was found to be highly toxic towards Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, concentrations of 10-60 microM producing significant cytotoxicity. The rate of INO decay was found to be increased in the presence of CHO cells. INO was also toxic and mutagenic towards Salmonella typhimurium TA-100. When compared on a molar basis to the parent nitro compound INO2, and the 4- and 6-electron reduction products INHOH and 2-amino-1-methylimidazole (INH2), INO was by far (two orders of magnitude) the most toxic under aerobic conditions. These results suggest that the nitroso reduction product of 2-nitroimidazoles may be the reduced species responsible for hypoxic cell selective toxicity of 2-nitroimidazoles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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