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

Prominent role of DT-diaphorase as a cellular mechanism reducing chromium(VI) and reverting its mutagenicity.

Rat liver postmitochondrial (S-12) fractions accounted for the bulk of the activity of whole cell homogenates in reducing chromium(VI) and accordingly in decreasing its mutagenicity. Both cytosolic (S-105) and microsomal fractions concurred to this process, which in all subcellular preparations tested was selectively induced by phenobarbital and especially by Aroclor 1254, but not by 3-methylcholanthrene. Cytosolic fractions were markedly more efficient in reducing chromium(VI) than microsomal fractions recovered from the same amount of tissue (liver or lung), although the latter preparations had a higher specific activity. The microsomal activity was exclusively NADPH dependent. A minor part of the cytosolic reduction was determined by nonenzymatic components, notably by some electron donors and chiefly by reduced glutathione, which proved to reduce chromium(VI) at physiological concentrations. However, also in cytosolic fractions, the most important contribution to chromium reduction was enzyme catalyzed, as shown by the following properties: thermolability; requirement for exogenous NADH or NADPH [supplied as such or in the form of a NADPH-generating system (S-9 mix)]; and saturation by chromium(VI). The likely involvement of DT-diaphorase in this metabolic process is supported by several findings, including its sharp pH dependence and its partial suppression by known inhibitors of this enzyme protein, such as p-chloromercuribenzoate, L-thyroxine, and dicumarol (which conversely did not counteract the metabolic deactivation of the other direct-acting mutagens 2-methoxy-6-chloro-9-[3-(2-chloroethyl)aminopropylamino]acridine 2HCl and epichlorohydrin). Similarly, cytosolic reduction of chromium(VI) was partially inhibited by selective metabolic depletors of both coenzymes of DT-diaphorase, i.e., NADPH and NADH. Pretreatment of rats with enzyme inducers (phenobarbital and 3-methylcholanthrene) stimulated the activity of DT-diaphorase in liver cytosolic fractions. A dramatic stimulation (35 to 40 times over untreated controls) was produced by Aroclor 1254, which also coinduced the liver cytosolic activity of enzymes involved in the glucose 6-phosphate-dependent pathway of both nicotinamide-adenine-dinucleotide phosphate and glutathione reduction (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, and glutathione reductase). In the lung cytosol, a slight yet significant stimulation of some of these enzyme activities was determined by the daily intratracheal instillations of high doses of chromium(VI) itself for 4 weeks, a condition which has been found to enhance the pulmonary metabolism of this metal ion.[1]


  1. Prominent role of DT-diaphorase as a cellular mechanism reducing chromium(VI) and reverting its mutagenicity. De Flora, S., Morelli, A., Basso, C., Romano, M., Serra, D., De Flora, A. Cancer Res. (1985) [Pubmed]
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