azathioprine sodium

Definition / meaning of azathioprine sodium

The sodium salt form of azathioprine, a pro-drug of purine analogue with immunosuppressive activity. Azathioprine is converted in vivo to its active metabolite 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP), which substitutes for the normal nucleoside and mistakenly gets incorporated into DNA sequences. This leads to inhibition of DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis. As a result, cell proliferation may be inhibited, particularly in lymphocytes and leukocytes.

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The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/)

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