The generation of metronidazole radicals in hydrogenosomes isolated from Trichomonas vaginalis

J Gen Microbiol. 1985 Sep;131(9):2141-4. doi: 10.1099/00221287-131-9-2141.


The nitro radical-anion of the anti-trichomonal drug metronidazole has been detected by electron spin resonance spectrometry under anaerobic conditions in suspensions of intact hydrogenosomes isolated from the parasitic protozoon Trichomonas vaginalis. Metronidazole reduction was driven by pyruvate, but progressive damage to the radical generating system was observed. Quenching of signals due to metronidazole radicals by chromium oxalate suggests that the radicals generated within the organelle can cross the hydrogenosomal membrane into the external medium. Even if a similar process of radical migration occurs in vivo, it seems likely that intrahydrogenosomal damage may explain drug action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Electron Transport
  • Free Radicals
  • Metronidazole / metabolism*
  • Trichomonas vaginalis / metabolism*


  • Free Radicals
  • Metronidazole