Biochemistry of Glucuronic Acid by Neal E. Artz, Elizabeth M. Osman

By Neal E. Artz, Elizabeth M. Osman

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Mixed ketones follow two courses of metabolism in the animal body. In part the carbonyl group is reduced to a secondary alcohol which usually is excreted in combination with glucuronic acid. Another part is oxidized to aromatic acids, but the mechanism of oxidation and nature of the prod­ ucts are the subject of some debate. Dakin stated that if the side-chain to which the keto group is attached contains an odd number of carbon atoms, benzoic acid is formed, whereas phenylacetic acid is produced if the side-chain contains an even number of carbons.

Whereas conjugation occurred only in liver and kidney, glucuronidase was present in practically all tissues studied. They found that the glucuronoside-synthesizing power of the liver of young mice, which was essentially zero at birth, increased rapidly to a maximum at 4 to 5 weeks. On the other hand, glucuronidase aòtivity, which was high during the initial period of rapid growth, decreased to a minimum at about the same time glucuronoside-synthesizing power reached a maximum. This later work indicates the need for a re-interpretation of some of the data reported by Fishman.

When protocatechuic acid (3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid) (XL) was admin­ istered to rabbits, some 30 per cent appeared to be conjugated, about 10 per cent as glucuronoside; the remainder was excreted unchanged (86). The glucuronoside was not isolated so its structure is not known. The monomethyl ether, vanillic acid (4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzoic acid) (XLI) behaved similarly; about one-half was excreted in the free state and onefourth was conjugated (371). Of the portion conjugated, about two-thirds appeared as glucuronovanillic acid (o-methoxy-p-carboxyphenyl glucuron­ oside).

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