Activated Phase II Metabolites: Comparison of Alkylation by 1-0-Acyl Glucuronides and Acyl Sulfates

  • Richard B. van Breemen
  • Catherine C. Fenselau
  • Deanne M. Dulik
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 197)


1-0-acyl glucuronides are reactive Phase II metabolites which can alkylate chemical nucleophiles. Industrial sulfate ester mixed anhydrides have been reported to be active acylating agents. This study was undertaken in order to establish that sulfate ester mixed anhydrides of clinically useful drugs could be synthesized, purified, and characterized as reactive chemical species. Their ability to alkylate 4-(p-nitrobenzyl)pyridine (NBP) and their stability in aqueous solution was compared with 1-0-acyl glucuronide conjugates of the same drugs. Synthesis of the 1-0-acyl glucuronides of the hypolipidemic agent, clofibric acid, and the nonsteroidal antiiflammatory drugs flufenamic acid and indomethacin were catalyzed by immobilized microsomal rabbit liver UDP-glucuronyltransferase. Potassium salts of the sulfate ester mixed anhydrides of these drugs were synthesized chemically by temperature-controlled reaction with chlorosulfonic acid in anhydrous pyridine. Half-lives at pH 2.0, 6.0, 7.4, and 10.0 were determined for each compound. The reactivity of the acyl glucuronides and sulfate ester mixed anhydrides towards the standard chemical nucleophile, 4-(p-nitrobenzyl pyridine (NBP), was measured using a spectrophotometric assay at several substrate concentrations. Acyl sulfate ester mixed anhydrides were shown to be 3–20 times more reactive towards NBP than their corresponding 1-0-acyl glucuronides. For both glucuronides and sulfate esters, relative reactivitiy towards NBP was: clofibric acid > indomethacin > flufenamic acid. This behavior paralleled the hydrolytic instability of the compounds.


Glucuronide Conjugate Clofibric Acid Sulfate Ester Chlorosulfonic Acid Lithium Aluminum Hydride 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard B. van Breemen
    • 1
  • Catherine C. Fenselau
    • 1
  • Deanne M. Dulik
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, School of MedicineJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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