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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Studies on the microsomal metabolism and binding of polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs).

The metabolism of polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) was studied in vitro by using rat liver microsomes in the presence of NADPH and atmospheric O2. Quantitative recoveries of all PBBs were obtained after incubations with control or 3-methylcholanthrene (MC) induced microsomes. Of the twelve major components, losses of only peaks 1 (2,4,5,2',5'-pentabromobiphenyl) and 3 (a hexabromobiphenyl) were observed following incubations with microsomes from phenobarbital (PB)- or PBBS- pretreated rats. Of seven structurally identified PBB components, only peak 1 has a bromine-free para position. Peaks 1, 2, and 5 all have two adjacent unsubstituted carbons, yet only peak 1 is metabolized. Of two dibromobiphenyl model compounds studied, the 2,2'-congener was very rapidly metabolized by PB-induced microsomes whereas its 4,4'-isomer was not. These results suggest that the presence of a free para position is required for the metabolism of brominated biphenyls. Of lesser importance appears to be the number of bromines or the availability of two adjacent unsubstituted carbons. In vivo evidence for the metabolism of peaks 1 and 3 was also provided by their drastically diminished levels in liver and milk extracts. When a 14C-PBB mixture consisting almost exclusively of peaks 4 (2,4,5,2',4',5'-hexabromobiphenyl) and 8 (2,3,4,5,2',4',5'-heptabromobiphenyl) was incubated with PB- or PBBs- induced microsomes and NADPH, only traces of radioactivity remained with the microsomes after extensive extraction. However, less radioactivity was bound to microsomes from MC pretreated or especially control rats. No radioactivity was bound to exogenous DNA included in similar microsomal incubations, regardless of the type of microsomes used. Under the same conditions, [3H]-benzo[a]pyrene metabolites were bound to DNA, and PBB-induced microsomes enhanced this binding more than six-fold.[1]


  1. Studies on the microsomal metabolism and binding of polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs). Dannan, G.A., Moore, R.W., Aust, S.D. Environ. Health Perspect. (1978) [Pubmed]
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