Enhancement of the peroxidase-mediated oxidation of butylated hydroxytoluene to a quinone methide by phenolic and amine compounds

David C. Thompson, Michael A. Trush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We have recently demonstrated that butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) markedly stimulates the peroxidase-dependent oxidation of butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) to the potentially toxic BHT-quinone methide. Using both horseradish peroxidase and prostaglandin H synthase we now report the ability of a wide variety of compounds to stimulate peroxidase-dependent activation of BHT. These compounds include several phenolic compounds commonly present in pharmacologic preparations or occurring naturally in foods. The ability of a given compound to stimuate BHT oxidation was found to depend on the type of radical it forms upon peroxidase oxidation. Compounds which have been shown to form phenoxy radicals or nitrogen-centered cation radicals were observed to enhance BHT oxidation. Conversely, compounds which are known to form peroxy radicals or semiquinone radicals either inhibited or had no effect on BHT oxidation. Compounds which enhanced BHT oxidation (monitored by covalent binding of [14C]BHT to protein) were also observed to stimulate the formation of BHT-quinone methide and stilbenequinone. This suggested a common mechanism of interaction of these compounds with BHT. The stimulation of BHT covalent binding by BHA was also seen in various human and animal tissues using either arachidonic acid or hydrogen peroxide as substrate. The possible toxicologic implications of the enhancement of peroxidase-catalyzed BHT oxidation to BHT-quinone methide are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-173
Number of pages17
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Butylated hydroxytoluene - Butylated hydroxyanisole - Peroxidase - Quinone methide - Phenoxy radical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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