The nitroxide tempol (4-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethyl piperidine-1-oxyl) reduces tissue injury in animal models of inflammation by mechanisms that are not completely understood. MPO (myeloperoxidase), which plays a fundamental role in oxidant production by neutrophils, is an important target for anti-inflammatory action. By amplifying the oxidative potential of H2O2, MPO produces hypochlorous acid and radicals through the oxidizing intermediates MPO-I [MPO-porphyrin•+-Fe(IV)=O] and MPO-II [MPO-porphyrin-Fe(IV)=O]. Previously, we reported that tempol reacts with MPO-I and MPO-II with second-order rate constants similar to those of tyrosine. However, we noticed that tempol inhibits the chlorinating activity of MPO, in contrast with tyrosine. Thus we studied the inhibition of MPO-mediated taurine chlorination by tempol at pH 7.4 and re-determined the kinetic constants of the reactions of tempol with MPO-I (k=3.5×105 M−1·s−1) and MPO-II, the kinetics of which indicated a binding interaction (K=2.0×10−5 M; k=3.6×10−2 s−1). Also, we showed that tempol reacts extremely slowly with hypochlorous acid (k=0.29 and 0.054 M−1·s−1 at pH 5.4 and 7.4 respectively). The results demonstrated that tempol acts mostly as a reversible inhibitor of MPO by trapping it as MPO-II and the MPO-II–tempol complex, which are not within the chlorinating cycle. After turnover, a minor fraction of MPO is irreversibly inactivated, probably due to its reaction with the oxammonium cation resulting from tempol oxidation. Kinetic modelling indicated that taurine reacts with enzyme-bound hypochlorous acid. Our investigation complements a comprehensive study reported while the present study was underway [Rees, Bottle, Fairfull-Smith, Malle, Whitelock and Davies (2009) Biochem. J. 421, 79–86].

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