Chloramphenicol-induced bone marrow injury: Possible role of bacterial metabolites of chloramphenicol

J. J. Jimenez, G. K. Arimura, W. H. Abou-Khalil, M. Isildar, A. A. Yunis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


To explore the potential role of some bacterial metabolites of chloramphenicol (CAP) in CAP-induced hematotoxicity, we examined their cytotoxic effects on bone marrow cells in vitro using a number of cytotoxicity parameters. Among the metabolites tested, dehydro-CAP (DHCAP) and p-nitrophenyl-2-amino-3 hydroxypropanone-HCI (NPAP) were more toxic than CAP. DHCAP was at least as toxic as nitroso-CAP. At concentrations of ≤ 10-4 mol/L, DHCAP caused total irreversible inhibition of myeloid colony (CFU-GM) growth and 80% inhibition of DNA synthesis in human bone marrow. Incubation of human bone marrow cells with 10-4 mol/L nitroso-CAP or DHCAP for 24 hours resulted in 75% and 65% cell death respectively. Although DHCAP was 10- to 20-fold more cytotoxic than CAP, it was only one third as effective in inhibiting mitochondrial protein synthesis, indicating that DHCAP exerts its toxic effect by alternate mechanisms. The cytotoxicity of DHCAP and its relative stability, compared to the unstable nitroso CAP, suggest that this bacterial metabolite of CAP, and possibly others, may play a significant role in CAP-induced hematotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1180-1185
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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