Absence of strand breaks in deoxyribonucleic acid treated with metronidazole

N. F. LaRusso, M. Tomasz, D. Kaplan, M. Mueller

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20 Scopus citations


The deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)-degrading potential of metronidazole was evaluated in vitro by three techniques: determination of melting curve, measurement of viscosity, and centrifugation in neutral or alkaline sucrose gradients. Studies were performed on calf thymus DNA and on 3H-labeled or unlabeled pneumococcal and T7 phage DNA after treatment with metronidazole alone or metronidazole reduced by sodium dithionite in the presence of DNA. This latter process is known to elicit covalent binding of metronidazole to DNA. Reduced or unreduced metronidazole had no effect on the melting properties, viscosity, or sedimentation velocity of the nucleic acids studied. Sodium dithionite alone, however, caused a 25% decrease in the intrinsic viscosity of pneumococcal DNA, and decreased the sedimentation velocity of pneumococcal and T7 phage DNA in both neutral and alkaline sucrose gradients. These data suggest that degradation of DNA is not important in the interaction of metronidazole with nucleic acids, an interaction assumed relevant to the cytotoxic, radiosensitizing, and mutagenic activities of this compound.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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