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BENZENE

I. Medical history: How is it used in medicine and what disease it is used against.

Benzene is a common air pollutant and also is a very stable compound. Benzene, in its original form is known to produce neurotropic symptoms as well as hematological abnormalities and malignancies. It is also a known carcinogen. Benzene, at high temperatures, pressures and catalysts, reacts with other compounds give a variety of substances that has medicinal value. Some of these compounds are discussed below.

1.  p amino benzene sulphonamide (sulfanilamide), found in prontosil, an azo dye, is an active therapeutic agent. This drug was greatly effective and specific against various bacterial diseases. The prontosil dye is also used against hemolytic streptococcal infection among humans. Sulfanilamide is effective against beta hemolytic streptococci, meningococci, gonococci, C1 Welchii and several other types of bacteria. The drug has a greater activity in vivo which suggest that the humoral and cellular defense mechanism of the organism contribute to its efficacy. It is extremely effective against virulent bacteria. The use of this drug has markedly reduced the mortality of pneumonia. Infections of meningococci meningitis, gonorrhea, urinary tracts infection and other common and serious infections are effectively and promptly cured. Due to the limited effect on certain organisms like pnemococci, there was a subsequent quest for substituted sulfanilamides. They are as follows:

Bone marrow tissue is one of the major targets of benzene and also is an active hemopoietic system in which various counter balanced genes are organized through their network interactions that maintain cellular environmental homeostasis and also protect cells form endogenous and exogenous hemetotoxic effect such as those by benzene. The genetic and epigenetic effects of benzene possibly causes the dysregulation of such a multidimensional counterbalance that may result in the altered expression of a number of genes associated with the benzene induced hematotoxicity and leukemogenecity.

In liver, benzene is oxidized to benzene oxide by hepatic CYP2E1. This benzene oxide forms phenol spontaneously or conjugates with glutathione S Transferases. Phenol is then catalyzed by CYP2E1 to potentially toxic di or trihydroxy benzenes such as hydroquinone, catechol and 1,2,4, benzene triol. The di or trihydroxy metabolites are further oxidized in the bone marrow by myeloperoxidase to benzoquinones, a potent hematotoxic and genetic agent.

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