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Metal-Based Drugs
Volume 1 (1994), Issue 5-6, Pages 363-374

Myochrysine Solution Structure and Reactivity

1Biomedical Chemistry Research Center, Department of Chemistry and Biological Sciences, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati 45221-0172, OH, USA
2Mallinckrodt Medical Inc., 675 McDonnell Blvd, P.O. Box. 5840, St. Louis 63134, MO, USA
3Merck and Co. Inc., WP 78-110, West Point 19486, PA, USA
4Chemistry Department, Florida State University, Tallahassee 32306, FL, USA

Copyright © 1994 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We have determined the framework structure of Myochrysine (disodium gold(I)thiomalate) in the solid state and extremely concentrated aqueous solution, previously. It consists of an open chain polymer with linear gold coordination to two thiolates from the thiomalic acid moieties which bridge between pairs of gold atoms providing an Au-S-Au angle of 95°. The question remained: was this structure relevant to the dilute solutions of drugs administered and the still lower concentrations of gold found in the bodies of patients (typically 1 ppm Au in blood and urine or 5 μM in Au). We have provided an answer to that question using extended X-ray absorption spectroscopy (EXAFS) and capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE). EXAFS studies confirm that the polymeric structure with two sulfur atoms per gold atom persists from molar concentrations down to millimolar concentrations. CZE is able to separate and detect Myochrysine at millimolar levels. More importantly, at micromolar levels Myochrysine solutions exhibit identical CZE behavior to that measured at millimolar levels. Thus, aqueous solutions of the drug remain oligomeric at concentrations commensurate with those found in patient blood and urine.

The reactivity of Myochrysine with cyanide, a species especially prevalent in smoking patients, was explored using CZE. Cyanide freely replaces thiomalic acid to form [Au(CN)2]- and thiomalic acid via a mixed ligand intermediate. The overall apparent equilibrium constant (Kapp) for the reaction is 6×10-4M-1. Further reaction of [Au(CN)2]- with a large excess of L, where L is cysteine, N-acetylcysteine, or glutathione, shows that these amino acids readily replace cyanide to form [AuL2]-. These species are thus potential metabolites and could possibly be active forms of gold in vivo. That all of these species are readily separated and quantified using CZE demonstrates that capillary electrophoresis is an accessible and powerful tool to add to those used for the study of gold-based antiarthritis drugs.