Procainamide, but not N-acetylprocainamide, induces protein free radical formation on myeloperoxidase: A potential mechanism of agranulocytosis

Arno G. Siraki, Leesa J. Deterding, Marcelo G. Bonini, Jinjie Jiang, Marilyn Ehrenshaft, Kenneth B. Tomer, Ronald P. Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Procainamide (PA) is a drug that is used to treat tachycardia in postoperative patients or for long-term maintenance of cardiac arrythmias. Unfortunately, its use has also been associated with agranulocytosis. Here, we have investigated the metabolism of PA by myeloperoxidase (MPO) and the formation of an MPO protein free radical. We hypothesized that PA oxidation by MPO/H2O2 would produce a PA cation radical that, in the absence of a biochemical reductant, would lead to the free radical oxidation of MPO. We utilized a novel anti-DMPO antibody to detect DMPO (5,5-dimethyl-1- pyrroline N-oxide) covalently bound to protein, which forms by the reaction of DMPO with a protein free radical. We found that PA metabolism by MPO/H 2O2 induced the formation of DMPO-MPO, which was inhibited by MPO inhibitors and ascorbate. N-acetyl-PA did not cause DMPO-MPO formation, indicating that the unsubstituted aromatic amine was more oxidizable. PA had a lower calculated ionization potential than N-acetyl-PA. The DMPO adducts of MPO metabolism, as analyzed by electron spin resonance spectroscopy, included a nitrogen-centered radical and a phenyl radical derived from PA, either of which may be involved in the free radical formation on MPO. Furthermore, we also found protein-DMPO adducts in MPO-containing, intact human promyelocytic leukemia cells (HL-60). MPO was affinity-purified from HL-60 cells treated with PA/H 2O2 and was found to contain DMPO using the anti-DMPO antibody. Mass spectrometry analysis confirmed the identity of the protein as human MPO. These findings were also supported by the detection of protein free radicals with electron spin resonance in the cellular cytosolic lysate. The formation of an MPO protein free radical is believed to be mediated by free radical metabolites of PA, which we characterized by spin trapping. We propose that drug-induced free radical formation on MPO may play a role in the origin of agranulocytosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1153
Number of pages11
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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