Antiarthritic gold compounds effectively quench electronically excited singlet oxygen

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Science  03 Apr 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4797, pp. 68-69
DOI: 10.1126/science.3563489


Although certain gold [Au(I)] compounds have been used effectively in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis for some years, the molecular basis for such therapeutic action has been unclear. One possible mechanism of the action of Au(I) compounds is that they protect unsaturated membrane lipids and proteins against oxidative degradation caused by activated phagocytes that are not properly regulated. In this study it has been shown that superoxide ion (O-2.), a product of activated phagocytes, can be oxidized to electronically excited singlet oxygen (O1(2)delta g), an agent that is capable of peroxidation of unsaturated fatty acid derivatives. It has also been shown that antiarthritic Au(I) compounds are effective deactivators of O1(2)delta g with quenching constants on the order of 10(7) M-1 sec-1.