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

Metabolism and toxicity of synthetic analogues of macrocyclic diester pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

Seven macrocyclic diesters analogous to hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids have been tested in male weanling Wistar rats. The compounds were the succinate (VII), 2,3-dimethylsuccinate (VIII), phthalate (IX), glutarate (X), 2,4-dimethylglutarate (XI), 3,3-dimethylglutarate (XII) and 3,3-pentamethyleneglutarate (XIII) of the synthetic amino dialcohol, synthanecine A. Single doses of these compounds were given i.p. to rats, and liver levels of pyrrolic metabolites were measured 2 h later. For these experiments both normal rats and rats pretreated with the esterase inhibitor tri-orthocresylphosphate (TOCP) were used. In normal rats, low levels of pyrrolic metabolites were formed from compounds VII, IX, X and XI, but these levels were greatly enhanced in rats with inhibited esterase activity. Much higher pyrrole levels were formed from compounds VIII, XII and XIII in normal rats, and esterase inhibition had relatively little effect on their metabolic conversion to pyrroles. This indicated that the last mentioned compounds were relatively resistant to enzymic hydrolysis, whereas VII, IX, X and XI were easily hydrolysed in normal rats, providing an alternative metabolic path which limited their conversion to pyrrolic metabolites. Comparison of results obtained using the 2,4-dimethylglutarate (XI), the 3,3-dimethylglutarate (XII) and the 3,3,-pentamethyleneglutarate (XIII) showed that 3,3-disubstitution but not 2,4-disubstitution in the glutaric acid moiety conferred high resistance to esterase attack. Toxicity tests using four of the compounds confirmed that acute hepatotoxicity was dose related, and associated with the formation of pyrrolic metabolites in the liver. The 3,3-dimethylglutarate (XII) was highly toxic both in normal and in TOCP treated rats, doses of 25-30 mg/kg causing moderate to severe centrilobular necrosis of the liver. In contrast the toxicity of the unsubstituted succinate (VII), glutarate (X) and 2,4-dimethylglutarate (XI) was very low in normal rats but high in rats with inhibited esterase activity. Thus, the glutarate (X) was non-toxic at 200 mg/kg in normal rats, but in TOCP treated rats, in which pyrrolic metabolite formation was enhanced by a factor of 17.5, a 50 mg/kg dose of this compound was severely hepatotoxic. Kidney damage, which was generally limited to the presence of isolated necrotic cells, sometimes accompanied the liver damage caused by these compounds, but acute toxic effects were not observed in any other tissues.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


  1. Metabolism and toxicity of synthetic analogues of macrocyclic diester pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Mattocks, A.R., Driver, H.E., Barbour, R.H., Robins, D.J. Chem. Biol. Interact. (1986) [Pubmed]
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