The interaction of copper (Cu++) with the erythrocyte membrane and 2,3-dimercaptopropanesulphonate in vitro: a source of activated oxygen species

Pharmacol Toxicol. 1987 Oct;61(4):250-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0773.1987.tb01813.x.


The therapy of copper poisoning and of Wilson's disease with 2,3-dimercaptopropane-1-sulphonate (DMPS) may increase the copper-induced haemolysis. Some aspects of the mechanism of this effect were investigated. The possible generation of activated oxygen species during the interaction of Cu++ and DMPS was studied using a chemiluminescent method detecting oxygen radicals. It was found that incubation of DMPS with copper ions (free or bond with erythrocyte membranes) is accompanied with generation of oxygen radicals. Activated oxygen species produced via O2- are able to increase the haemolytic effects of cupric salts. Hence DMPS treatment in cases of copper poisonings or Wilson's disease may involve risk of side effects on the basis of activated oxygen species generation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catalase / pharmacology
  • Copper / pharmacology*
  • Dimercaprol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / drug effects
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / metabolism*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Luminol
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / pharmacology
  • Unithiol / pharmacology*


  • Dimercaprol
  • Unithiol
  • Luminol
  • Copper
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Oxygen