Structural and electronic properties and chemical fate of free radicals generated from hydroxyurea (HU) and its methylated analogues N-methylhydroxyurea (NMHU) and O-methylhydroxyurea (OMHU) are of utmost importance for their biological and pharmacological effects. In this work the cis/trans conformational processes, tautomerizations, and intramolecular hydrogen and methyl migrations in hydroxyurea-derived radicals have been considered. Potential energy profiles for these reactions have been calculated using two DFT functionals (BP86 and B3LYP) and two composite models (G3(MP2)RAD and G3B3). Solvation effects have been included both implicitly (CPCM) and explicitly. It has been shown that calculated energy barriers for free radical rearrangements are significantly reduced when a single water molecule is included in calculations. In the case of HU-derived open-shell species, a number of oxygen-, nitrogen-, and carbon-centered radicals have been located, but only the O-centered radicals (e1 and z1) fit to experimental isomeric hyperfine coupling constants (hfccs) from EPR spectra. The reduction of NMHU and OMHU produces O-centered and N-centered radicals, respectively, with the former being more stable by ca. 60 kJ mol−1. The NMHU-derived radical e4 undergoes rearrangements, which can result in formation of several conceivable products. The calculated hfccs have been successfully used to interpret the experimental EPR spectra of the most probable rearranged product 10. Reduction potentials of hydroxyureas, radical stabilization energy (RSE) and bond disocciation energy (BDE) values have been calculated to compare stabilities and reactivities of different subclasses of free radicals. It has been concluded, in agreement with experiment, that reductions of biologically relevant tyrosyl radicals by HU and NMHU are thermochemically favorable processes, and that the order of reactivity of hydroxyureas follows the experimentally observed trend NMHU > HU > OMHU.
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