Raloxifene is a polyaromatic compound which has been reported to form radicals when incubated with horseradish peroxidase resulting in formation of a homo-dimer product. Polyaromatic phenols have also been reported to undergo oxidation by P450 enzymes to form reactive intermediates, presumably through the formation of phenoxy radical species. Recently, we observed that a raloxifene homo-dimer was formed in vitro when incubated with CYP3A4. In response to this finding, a series of experiments were designed to determine whether the observed raloxifene homo-dimer was formed via solution phase chemistry similar to that previously documented with horseradish peroxidase or if generation of the homo-dimer occurred within the P450 active site. To this end, a series of experiments were carried out to determine the structure of the CYP3A4 generated raloxifene homo-dimer using analytical techniques including: high resolution MS, NMR and H/D exchange. In addition, a variety of in vitro techniques were applied to characterize the mechanism responsible for formation of the raloxifene homo-dimer. Collectively, the results of these experiments suggest that unlike the homo-dimer formed by peroxidase enzymes, raloxifene homo-dimer formation mediated by CYP3A4 is a consequence of two raloxifene molecules binding simultaneously within the active site of a catalytically competent P450 enzyme.
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