The syntheses of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene 5,6-oxide, 7-acetoxymethyl-12-methylbenz[a]anthracene 5,6-oxide and a product that appears to be mainly 7-hydroxymethyl-12-methylbenz[a]anthracene 5,6-oxide are described. The compounds readily rearranged to phenols in the presence of mineral acid, and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene 5,6-oxide and its 7-hydroxymethyl derivative reacted slowly with water to yield trans-5,6-dihydro-5,6-dihydroxy-7,12-dimethylbenz[a] anthracene and trans-5,6-dihydro-5,6-dihydroxy-7-hydroxymethyl-12-methylbenz [a]anthracene respectively. Both epoxides were converted enzymically by rat liver microsomal fractions and homogenates into the related trans-dihydrodiols. The epoxides reacted chemically with GSH to form conjugates that were identical with the conjugates formed when the epoxides were incubated with rat liver homogenates. The GSH conjugates were more stable to acid than conjugates derived from other arene oxides. In the alkylation of 4-(p-nitrobenzyl)pyridine, 7,12-dimethyl-benz[a]anthracene 5,6-oxide was more active than the 5,6-oxides of 7-methylbenz[a]-anthracene and benz[a]anthracene.

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