Mitochondrial uncoupling by the sulindac metabolite, sulindac sulfide

Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2006 Oct;99(4):294-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-7843.2006.pto_490.x.


Sulindac is a non-steroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) known to inhibit cyclooxygenases (COX) 1 and 2, and at present of interest for cancer prevention. However, its therapeutic use has been limited by its toxicity to the gastrointestinal tract and liver. We address the effects of sulindac, of the pharmacologically inactive metabolite, sulindac sulfone, and of the pharmacologically active metabolite, sudindac sulfide, on isolated rat liver mitochondria and HepG2 cells. Sulindac sulfide, but not sulindac sulfone or sulindac itself, caused mitochondrial uncoupling, released preaccumulated Ca2+ from the organelle, and decreased Hep-G2 cell viability in apparent association with cell ATP depletion resulting from mitochondrial uncoupling-associated membrane potential dissipation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Sulindac / analogs & derivatives*
  • Sulindac / chemistry
  • Sulindac / metabolism
  • Sulindac / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Uncoupling Agents / pharmacology


  • Uncoupling Agents
  • Sulindac
  • sulindac sulfide