Biotransformation of para-aminobenzoic acid and salicylic acid by PMN

Arthur L. Sagone, Rose Marie Husney, W. Bruce Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) is an essential cofactor for the production of folic acid in bacteria and has mild anti-inflammatory activity. We have recently reported that salicylic acid and benzoic acid are oxidized by stimulated granulocytes Polymorphonuclear Neutrophils (PMN). The oxidation of salicylate appears mediated by a potent oxygen metabolite generated during the respiratory burst which is dependent primarily on superoxide (O2-) for its production. These background studies with the salicylate group of drugs suggested that PABA might be similarly metabolized by PMN. In these studies, we demonstrate that PABA is metabolized by stimulated PMN. However, in contrast to the biochemical mechanism involved in the metabolism of salicylate, our scavenger studies indicate that PABA is metabolized primarily by the myeloperoxidase pathway. Our results may explain the mild anti-inflammatory actions of the drug and suggest that the degradation of PABA by PMN at an inflammatory site may limit the availability of PABA for bacterial growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993


  • Activated granulocytes
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Biotransformation of xenobiotics
  • Free radicals
  • Hydroxyl radical
  • Myeloperoxidase
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Salicylic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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