Reactive oxygen species mediate hepatotoxicity induced by the Hsp90 inhibitor geldanamycin and its analogs

Yuval Samuni, Hisanari Ishii, Fuminori Hyodo, Uri Samuni, Murali C. Krishna, Sara Goldstein, James B. Mitchell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    67 Citations (Scopus)


    Geldanamycin (GM), a benzoquinone ansamycin antibiotic, is a natural product inhibitor of Hsp90 with potent and broad anti-cancer properties. Because of its adverse effects on liver, its less toxic derivatives 17-(allylamino)-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG) and 17-(dimethylaminoethylamino)-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-DMAG) are currently being evaluated for the treatment of cancer. Previously, it has been demonstrated that the redox cycling of GM by NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase leads to the formation of the GM semiquinone and superoxide radicals, the latter being identified using spin-trapping. We hypothesized that the different hepatotoxicity induced by GM, 17-AAG and 17-DMAG reflects the redox active properties of the quinone moiety and possibly the extent of superoxide formation, which may stimulate cellular oxidative injury. Our data demonstrate that superoxide can be efficiently trapped during the reduction of GM, 17-AAG and 17-DMAG by NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase, and that superoxide formation rate followed the order 17-DMAG > 17-AAG > GM. In the absence of superoxide scavengers, the rate of NADPH oxidation followed the order 17-DMAG > GM > 17-AAG. The half-wave one-electron reduction potentials (E1/2) of GM, 17-AAG and 17-DMAG in DMSO have been determined to be -0.37, -0.13 and -0.015V (vs. Ag/AgCl), respectively. If the same order of E1/2 follows in neutral aqueous media, thermodynamic considerations imply that 17-DMAG is more readily reduced by the P450 reductase as well as by superoxide. The order of the drug cytotoxicity toward rat primary hepatocytes, as determined by their effect on cell viability and on intracellular oxidant level, was opposite to the order of E1/2 of the respective quinone/semiquinone couples. These results suggest that hepatotoxicity exhibited by the Hsp90 inhibitors belonging to benzoquinone ansamycins could be attributed to superoxide. The apparent discrepancy between the order of toxicity and the orders of superoxide formation rate, which is correlated with E1/2, is discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1559-1563
    Number of pages5
    JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Biochemistry
    • Physiology (medical)


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