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Keywords:

  • Cyclodopa;
  • Redox exchange;
  • Pulse radiolysis;
  • Computer model;
  • Dopaquinone;
  • Dopachrome

The kinetics of the initial cyclization and redox exchange reactions involved in the eumelanogenic pathway have been studied previously but because of the difficulty of detecting the intermediate cyclodopa by optical means (because its absorbance is in the same range as dopa which is present in excess in the experimental system) no accurate value for the redox exchange reaction has so far been obtained and there is no available analytical methodology that can be applied to the successive first- and second-order reactions involved. We have synthesized cyclodopa and examined the kinetics of the formation of dopachrome following the pulse radiolytic generation of dopaquinone in its presence. From this direct measurement we determined that the rate constant of the reaction between cyclodopa and dopaquinone is 5.3 × 106/M/s. Employing this value in a computational model of the combined cyclization and redox exchange reactions we calculate that the observed kinetics of dopaquinone decay and dopachrome formation are compatible with a cyclization rate constant of 3.8/s.