Oxidation Pathways and the Enzymes That Mediate Them
For an organism to eliminate a lipophilic, chemically inert xenobiotic, it is usually first necessary to oxidize it to a more polar form. In addition, many biosynthetic pathways that produce steroid hormones, prostaglandins, leukotrienes, etc. involve oxidative steps. Organisms have evolved many enzymes to carry out these oxidations. Oxidation can occur by addition of oxygen (without addition of hydrogen which would represent hydration), removal of hydrogen atoms (without removal of oxygen which would represent dehydration), or simply removal of electrons.