Characterization of the glutathione conjugate of the semisynthetic flavonoid monoHER

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Flavonoids protect against oxidative stress by scavenging free radicals. During this protection flavonoids are oxidized. The oxidized flavonoids formed are often reactive. Consequently, protection by flavonoids can result in the formation of toxic products. In this study the oxidation of 7-mono-O-(β-hydroxyethyl)rutoside (monoHER), which is a constituent of the registered drug Venoruton, was studied in the absence and presence of glutathione (GSH). MonoHER was oxidized by horseradish peroxidase/H2O2. Spectrophotometric and HPLC analysis showed that in the presence of GSH, a monoHER–GSH conjugate was formed, which was identified as 2′-glutathionyl monohydroxyethylrutoside by mass spectrometric analysis and 1H NMR. Preferential formation of this glutathione adduct in the B ring at C2′ was confirmed by molecular quantum chemical calculations. This conjugate was also detected in the bile fluid of a healthy volunteer after iv administration of monoHER, demonstrating its formation in vivo. These results indicate that in the process of offering protection against free radicals, monoHER is converted into an oxidation product that is reactive toward thiols. The formation of this thiol-reactive oxidation product is potentially harmful. Thus, the supposed beneficial effect of monoHER as an antioxidant may be accompanied by the formation of products with an electrophilic, toxic potential.

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