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).