Molecular actions of ebselen--an antiinflammatory antioxidant

Gen Pharmacol. 1995 Oct;26(6):1153-69. doi: 10.1016/0306-3623(95)00003-j.


1. Ebselen (2-phenyl-1,2-benzisoselenazol-3(2H)-one) is a non-toxic seleno-organic drug with antiinflammatory, antiatherosclerotic and cytoprotective properties. 2. Ebselen and some of its metabolites are effective reductants of hydroperoxides including those arising in biomembranes and lipoproteins. 3. By reactions with hydroperoxides and thiols several interconversion cycles are formed which include ebselen metabolites with varying oxidation number of the selenium. 4. In the presence of thiols ebselen mimics the catalytic activities of phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase. 5. Ebselen inhibits at low concentrations a number of enzymes involved in inflammation such as lipoxygenases, NO synthases, NADPH, oxidase, protein kinase C and H+/K(+)-ATPase. The inhibitions are manifested on the cellular level and may contribute to the antiinflammatory potential of ebselen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Azoles / metabolism
  • Azoles / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Inflammation
  • Isoindoles
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Molecular Structure
  • Organoselenium Compounds / metabolism
  • Organoselenium Compounds / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Azoles
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Isoindoles
  • Organoselenium Compounds
  • ebselen