Hydrogen peroxide, generated by thyroid oxidase enzymes, is a crucial substrate for the thyroid peroxidase (TPO)-catalysed biosynthesis of thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) in the thyroid gland. It is believed that the H2O2 generation is a limiting step in thyroid hormone synthesis. Therefore, the control of hydrogen peroxide concentration is one of the possible mechanisms for the inhibition of thyroid hormone biosynthesis. The inhibition of thyroid hormone synthesis is required for the treatment of hyperthyroidism and this can be achieved by one or more anti-thyroid drugs. The most widely used anti-thyroid drug methimazole (MMI) inhibits the production of thyroid hormones by irreversibly inactivating the enzyme TPO. Our studies show that the replacement of sulphur in MMI by selenium leads to a selone, which exists predominantly in its zwitterionic form. In contrast to the sulphur drug, the selenium analogue (MSeI) reversibly inhibits the peroxidase-catalysed oxidation and iodination reactions. Theoretical studies on MSeI reveal that the selenium atom in this compound carries a large negative charge. The carbon-selenium bond length in MSeI is found to be close to single-bond length. As the selenium atom exhibits a large nucleophilic character, the selenium analogue of MMI may scavenge the hydrogen peroxide present in the thyroid cells, which may lead to a reversible inhibition of thyroid hormone biosynthesis.
Volume 135, 2023
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