Primaquine-induced hemolytic anemia: Formation of free radicals in rat erythrocytes exposed to 6-methoxy-8-hydroxylaminoquinoline

Laura J.C. Bolchoz, Andrew K. Gelasco, David J. Jollow, David C. McMillan

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21 Scopus citations


Primaquine is an important antimalarial drug that is often dose-limited in therapy by the onset of hemolytic anemia. We have shown recently that an N-hydroxy metabolite of primaquine, 6-methoxy-8-hydroxylaminoquinoline (MAQ-NOH), is a direct-acting hemolytic agent in rat red cells and that the hemolytic activity of this metabolite is associated with GSH oxidation and oxidative damage to both membrane lipids and skeletal proteins. To determine whether the formation of free radicals may be involved in this process, rat red cells (40% suspensions) were incubated with hemolytic concentrations of MAQ-NOH (150-750 μM) and examined by EPR spectroscopy using 2-ethoxycarbonyl-2-methyl-3,4-dihydro-2H-pyrrole-1 -oxide (EMPO) as a spin trap. Addition of MAQ-NOH to red cell sus pensions containing 10 mM EMPO gave rise to an EPR spectrum with hyperfine constants consistent with those of an EMPO-hydroxyl radical adduct standard. Of interest, formation of EMPO-OH was constant for up to 20 min and dependent on the presence of erythrocytic GSH. Although no other radical adduct signals were detected in the cells by EPR, spectrophotometric analysis revealed the presence of ferrylhemoglobin, which indicates that hydrogen peroxide is generated under these experimental conditions. The data support the hypothesis that oxygen-derived and possibly other free radicals are involved in the mechanism underlying MAQ-NOH-induced hemolytic anemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1121-1129
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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