Document Detail

The role of leukocyte-generated reactive metabolites in the pathogenesis of idiosyncratic drug reactions.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  1628536     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Evidence strongly suggests that many adverse drug reactions, including idiosyncratic drug reactions, involve reactive metabolites. Furthermore, certain functional groups, which are readily oxidized to reactive metabolites, are associated with a high incidence of adverse reactions. Most drugs can probably form reactive metabolites, but a simple comparison of covalent binding in vitro is unlikely to provide an accurate indication of the relative risk of a drug causing an idiosyncratic reaction because it does not provide an indication of how efficiently the metabolite is detoxified in vivo. In addition, the incidence and nature of adverse reactions associated with a given drug is probably determined in large measure by the location of reactive metabolite formation, as well as the chemical reactivity of the reactive metabolite. Such factors will determine which macromolecules the metabolites will bind to, and it is known that covalent binding to some proteins, such as those in the leukocyte membrane, is much more likely to lead to an immune-mediated reaction or other type of toxicity. Some reactive metabolites, such as acyl glucuronides, circulate freely and could lead to adverse reactions in almost any organ; however, most reactive metabolites have a short biological half-life, and although small amounts may escape the organ where they are formed, these metabolites are unlikely to reach sufficient concentrations to cause toxicity in other organs. Many idiosyncratic drug reactions involve leukocytes, especially agranulocytosis and drug-induced lupus. We and others have demonstrated that drugs can be metabolized by activated neutrophils and monocytes to reactive metabolites. The major reaction appears to be reaction with leukocyte-generated hypochlorous acid. Hypochlorous acid is quite reactive, and therefore it is likely that many other drugs will be found that are metabolized by activated leukocytes. Some neutrophil precursors contain myeloperoxidase and the NADPH oxidase system, and it is likely that these cells can also oxidize drugs. Therefore, although there is no direct evidence, it is reasonable to speculate that reactive metabolites generated by activated leukocytes, or neutrophil precursors in the bone marrow, could be responsible for drug-induced agranulocytosis and aplastic anemia. This could involve direct toxicity or an immune-mediated reaction. These mechanisms are not mutually exclusive, and it may be that both mechanisms contribute to the toxicity, even in the same patient. In the case of drug-induced lupus, a prevalent hypothesis for lupus involves modification of class II MHC antigens.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
J P Uetrecht
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Drug metabolism reviews     Volume:  24     ISSN:  0360-2532     ISO Abbreviation:  Drug Metab. Rev.     Publication Date:  1992  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1992-08-17     Completed Date:  1992-08-17     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0322067     Medline TA:  Drug Metab Rev     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  299-366     Citation Subset:  IM    
Faculties of Pharmacy and Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Drug Hypersensitivity / blood,  etiology*
Drug Therapy / adverse effects*
Leukocytes / metabolism*,  physiology

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