Adriamycin causes both glomerular and tubular lesions in kidney, which can be severe enough to progress to irreversible renal failure. This drug-caused nephrotoxicity may result from the metabolic reductive activation of Adriamycin to a semiquinone free radical intermediate by oxidoreductive enzymes such as NADPH-cytochrome P-450 reductase and NADH-dehydrogenase. The drug semiquinone, in turn, autoxidizes and efficiently generates highly reactive and toxic oxyradicals. We report here that the reductive activation of Adriamycin markedly enhanced both NADPH- and NADH-dependent kidney microsomal membrane lipid peroxidation, measured as malonaldehyde by the thiobarbituric acid method. Adriamycin-enhanced kidney microsomal lipid peroxidation was diminished by the inclusion of the oxyradical scavengers, superoxide dismutase and 1,3-dimethylurea, and by the chelating agents, EDTA and diethylenetriamine-pentaacetic acid (DETPAC), implicating an obligatory role for reactive oxygen species and metal ions in the peroxidation mechanism. Furthermore, the inclusion of exogenous ferric and ferrous iron salts more than doubled Adriamycin-stimulated peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation was prevented by the sulfhydryl-reacting agent, p-chloromercuribenzenesulfonic acid, by omitting NAD(P)H, or by heat-inactivating the kidney microsomes, indicating the requirement for active pyridine-nucleotide linked enzymes. Several analogs of Adriamycin as well as mitomycin C, drugs which are capable of oxidation-reduction cycling, greatly increased NADPH-dependent kidney microsomal peroxidation. Carminomycin and 4-demethoxydaunorubicin were noteworthy in this respect because they were three to four times as potent as Adriamycin. In isolated kidney mitochondria, Adriamycin promoted a 12-fold increase in NADH-supported (NADH-dehydrogenase-dependent) peroxidation. These observations clearly indicate that anthracyclines enhance oxyradical-mediated membrane lipid peroxidation in vitro, and suggest that peroxidation-caused damage to kidney endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondrial membranes in vivo could contribute to the development of anthracycline-caused nephrotoxicity.
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