Oxidation of catechol estrogens (CE) leads to the reactive electrophilic CE quinones. Reaction of CE-3,4-quinones with DNA has been implicated in tumor initiation. One pathway to prevent this reaction is conjugation of CE quinones with glutathione (GSH). Four CE, 4-hydroxy estrone (4-OHE1), 4- hydroxyestradiol (4-OHE2), 2-OHE1, and 2-OHE2, were conjugated with GSH after oxidation catalyzed by horseradish peroxidase (HRP), lactoperoxidase (LP), or rat liver microsomal cytochrome P450. This reaction is a free- radical chain autoxidation that produces very high yields of products. Six mono-GSH conjugates, 4-OHE1(E2)-2-SG, 2-OHE1(E2)-1-SG, and 2-OHE1(E2)- 4-SG, and four di-GSH conjugates, 4-OHE1(E2)-1,2-bisSG and 2-OHE1(E2)1,4- bisSG, were identified and quantified. These di-GSH conjugates were also obtained quantitatively from oxidation of mono-GSH conjugates by the same enzymes. HRP and LP gave very similar product profiles. Phenobarbital- and 3- methylcholanthrene-induced microsomes with either NADPH or cumene hydroperoxide as cofactor oxidized 4-OHE2 to form similar amounts of GSH conjugates. Enzymatic oxidation of 2-OHE1(E2) in the presence of GSH produced more 2-OHE1(E2)-4-SG than the 1-isomer. This contrasts with the direct reaction of E1(E2)-2,3-Q and GSH, in which the 1-isomer is formed more abundantly than the 4-isomer (Cao, K., Devanesan, P. D., Ramanathan, R., Gross, M. L., Rogan, E. G., and Cavalieri, E. L. (1998) Chem. Res. Toxicol. 11, 909-916). Competitive enzymatic oxidation of equimolar 4-OHE2 and 2- OHE2 in the presence of an equimolar amount of GSH yielded more 2-OHE2 conjugates than 4-OHE2 conjugates, despite E2-3,4-Q being more reactive with GSH than E2-2,3-Q. These results suggest that 2-OHE2 is a better substrate than 4-OHE2 in the catalytic oxidation to quinones, despite the greater reactivity of E2-3,4-Q, compared to E2-2,3-Q, with GSH.
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