The metabolic fate of ortho-quinones derived from catecholamine metabolites

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© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. ortho-Quinones are produced in vivo through the oxidation of catecholic substrates by enzymes such as tyrosinase or by transition metalions. Neuromelanin, a dark pigment present in the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus of the brain, is produced from dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) via an interaction with cysteine, but it also incorporates their alcoholic and acidic metabolites. In this study we examined the metabolic fate of ortho-quinones derived from the catecholamine metabolites, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethanol (DOPE), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethylene glycol (DOPEG), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylmandelic acid (DOMA). The oxidation of catecholic substrates by mushroom tyrosinase was followed by UV-visible spectrophotometry. HPLC analysis after reduction with NaBH4 or ascorbic acid enabled measurement of the half-lives of ortho-quinones and the identification of their reaction products. Spectrophotometric examination showed that the ortho-quinones initially formed underwent extensive degradation at pH 6.8. HPLC analysis showed that DOPE-quinone and DOPEG-quinone degraded with half-lives of 15 and 30 min at pH 6.8, respectively, and > 100 min at pH 5.3. The major product from DOPE-quinone was DOPEG which was produced through the addition of a water molecule to the quinone methide intermediate. DOPEG-quinone yielded a ketone, 2-oxo-DOPE, through the quinone methide intermediate. DOPAC-quinone and DOMA-quinone degraded immediately with decarboxylation of the ortho-quinone intermediates to form 3,4-dihydroxybenzylalcohol (DHBAlc) and 3,4-dihydroxybenzaldehyde (DHBAld), respectively. DHBAlc-quinone was converted to DHBAld with a half-life of 9 min, while DHBAld-quinone degraded rapidly with a half-life of 3 min. This study confirmed the fact that ortho-quinones from DOPE, DOPEG, DOPAC and DOMA are converted to quinone methide tautomers as common intermediates, through proton rearrangement or decarboxylation. The unstable quinone methides afford stable alcoholic or carbonyl products.




Ito, S., Yamanaka, Y., Ojika, M., & Wakamatsu, K. (2016). The metabolic fate of ortho-quinones derived from catecholamine metabolites. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17(2).

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