The O6-methylation of 4-hydroxyestradiol is inhibited by 2-hydroxyestradiol: Implications for estrogen-induced carcinogenesis

Deodutta Roy, Judith Weisz, Joachim G. Liehr

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O-Methylation of catecholestrogens catalyzed by catechol-O-methyltransferase provides a major route for the rapid metabolic clearance of these steroids. However, the metabolic clearance rate of 4-hydroxyestradiol (4-OH-E2) is considerably lower than that of 2-hydroxyestradiol, although 2- and 4-hydroxycatecholestrogens (2- and 4-OH-CE) have similar apparent affinities for the enzyme. To determine the reason for this apparent paradox we have examined whether the efficiency of O-methylation of 4-OH-E2 could be affected by other catecholestrogens or their O-methyl ethers. The ratio of 4-methoxyestradiol:4-hydroxyestradiol 3-methyl ether was 2.6 at pH 8.5, the pH optimum for the reaction. The O-methylation of 4-OH-E2 (apparent Km 10 μM) was inhibited by 2-hydroxyestradiol (2-OH-E2) but not by 2- or 4-methoxyestrogens. The values for Km, Vmax as well as the slope for the methylation of 4-OH-E2 were altered by 2-OH-E2 indicating a mixed inhibition. The inhibition constant for the intercept 1/V'max versus 2-OH-E2 concentrations and the inhibition constant for the slope versus 2-OH-E2 concentrations were 35 and 5.7 μM, respectively. The inhibition of O-methylation of 4-OH-E2 by 2-OH-E2 increased with the pH. In target tissues of the carcinogenic action of estrogens such as the rat pituitary, hamster kidney, or mouse uterus in which 2- and 4-OH-CE are both generated in almost equal amounts, the inactivation of 4-OH-CE by O-methylation may be impeded. Consequently, 4-OH-E2 would remain available as substrate for redox cycling, generation of active radicals and DNA damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-462
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cancer Research


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