May 6, 1999

Free radical-mediated oxidative DNA damage in the mechanism of thalidomide teratogenicity

Nature Medicine
Toufan ParmanPeter G Wells

Abstract

The sedative drug thalidomide ([+]-alpha-phthalimidoglutarimide), once abandoned for causing birth defects in humans, has found new therapeutic license in leprosy and other diseases, with renewed teratological consequences. Although the mechanism of teratogenesis and determinants of risk remain unclear, related teratogenic xenobiotics are bioactivated by embryonic prostaglandin H synthase (PHS) to a free-radical intermediates that produce reactive oxygen species (ROS), which cause oxidative damage to DNA and other cellular macromolecules. Similarly, thalidomide is bioactivated by horseradish peroxidase, and oxidizes DNA and glutathione, indicating free radical-mediated oxidative stress. Furthermore, thalidomide teratogenicity in rabbits is reduced by the PHS inhibitor acetylsalicylic acid, indicating PHS-catalyzed bioactivation. Here, we show in rabbits that thalidomide initiates embryonic DNA oxidation and teratogenicity, both of which are abolished by pre-treatment with the free radical spin trapping agent alpha-phenyl-N-t-butylnitrone (PBN). In contrast, in mice, a species resistant to thalidomide teratogenicity, thalidomide does not enhance DNA oxidation, even at a dose 300% higher than that used in rabbits, providing insig...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Embryo
Phenyl
Cyclic N-Oxides
phenyl-N-tert-butylnitrone, (Z)-isomer
Free Radicals
Oxidative Stress
Oxidative Stress Analysis
Glutathione Measurement
anti-leprosy vaccine
Oxidation

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