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Detoxication Mechanisms

Nature volume 162, page 127 (24 July 1948) | Download Citation



This is the first monograph to be published in English describing the chemical changes which drugs or other substances foreign to the body undergo when administered to animals. It is undoubtedly a useful compendium of the work which has been carried out in this field. Dr. R. T. Williams excuses his title on the grounds that the subject has been treated under such a heading in text-books of biochemistry. The title is, however, too narrow for the subject. Many of the reactions considered are certainly not detoxication processes. Thus the conversion of the azo dye prontosil into sulphanil-amide appears to be an activation, and the metabolism of some substances such |as picric acid and trinitrotoluene leads to more toxic products. The functions of the biochemical changes are unknown in most cases. “Detoxication Mechanisms” is rather a teleological expression, and the reviewer would like to suggest that another title or even the present sub-title be used for future editions. Even if it has become customary to use this term, there is no need to continue using a term which Dr. Williams admits if “Taken in its literal sense . . . becomes in many cases a misnomer”.

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