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It has already been reported that in vivo muscle necrosis induced by various phenylenediamine derivatives correlated with their in vitro autoxidation rate [9]. Now in a more detailed investigation of the cytotoxic mechanism of a ring-methylated phenylenediamine known as tetramethylphenylenediamine or durenediamine (DD) towards isolated rat hepatocytes has been carried out. Cytotoxicity was preceded by ROS formation which was markedly increased by inactivating DT-diaphorase or catalase but were prevented by a subtoxic concentration of the mitochondrial respiratory inhibitor cyanide. This suggests that ROS generation could be attributed to a futile two-electron redox cycle involving oxidation of phenylenediamine to the corresponding diimine by the mitochondrial electron transfer chain and re-reduction by the DT-diaphorase. Endocytosis inhibitors, lysosomotropic agents or lysosomal protease inhibitors also prevented DD-induced cytotoxicity suggesting that DD-induced ROS caused lysosomal damage and protease activation in hepatocytes. Furthermore preincubation with deferoxamine (a ferric iron chelator) or addition of antioxidants, catalase or ROS scavengers (mannitol, tempol or dimethylsulfoxide) prevented DD cytotoxicity. These results suggest that H(2)O(2) reacts with lysosomal Fe(2+) to form "ROS" which causes lysosomal lipid peroxidation, membrane disruption, protease release and cell death.


Jalal Pourahmad, Peter J O'Brien, Katie Chan, Ataollah Shakouri. Tetramethylphenylenediamine-induced hepatocyte cytotoxicity caused by lysosomal labilisation and redox cycling with oxygen activation. Chemico-biological interactions. 2008 Mar 10;172(1):39-47

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PMID: 18221936

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