/an'tee meuh tab"euh luyt', an'tuy-/, n.
1. Biochem. any substance that interferes with growth of an organism by competing with or substituting for an essential nutrient in an enzymatic process.
2. Pharm. of or pertaining to certain substances used to prevent or reduce the proliferation of cells, esp. cancer cells, by interfering with normal metabolic activity.
Also, antimetabolic /an'tee met'euh bol"ik, an'tuy-/.
[1940-45; ANTI- + METABOLITE]

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Substance that competes with, replaces, or inhibits a specific compound within a cell, whose functioning is thereby disrupted.

Because its structure resembles the compound's, it is taken up by the cell, but it does not react in the same way with the enzyme that acts on the usual compound. It may inhibit the enzyme or be converted into an aberrant chemical. Many antimetabolites are useful in treating disease, including sulfa drugs, which disrupt bacterial but not human metabolism for bacterial diseases, and others (e.g., methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil) for various cancers.

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      a substance that competes with, replaces, or inhibits a specific metabolite of a cell and thereby interferes with the cell's normal metabolic functioning. An antimetabolite is similar in structure to a metabolite, or enzymatic substrate, which is normally recognized and acted upon by an enzyme to form a substance required by the cell. Although the antimetabolite may resemble the substrate enough to be taken up by the cell, it does not react in the same way with the enzyme—either the enzymatic reaction is inhibited or the antimetabolite is converted by the enzyme into an aberrant component.

      Many antimetabolites are used for therapeutic purposes. Sulfanilamides are antimetabolites that disrupt bacterial, but not human, metabolism and are used to eradicate bacterial infections in humans. Other antimetabolites such as methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil are used to treat a variety of cancers.

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Universalium. 2010.

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