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

Intestinal toxicity of acrylonitrile: in vitro metabolism by intestinal cytochrome P450 2E1.

Acrylonitrile (VCN) is known to cause extensive gastrointestinal damage and tumors in rats. In this study the metabolism of VCN to cyanide (CN-) was characterized in the small intestinal mucosa. The majority of the metabolic reactivity was localized in the microsomal fraction and required reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate for maximal activity. The intestinal metabolism of VCN to CN- was characterized with respect to VCN concentration, time, pH, and microsomal protein concentration. VCN metabolism to CN- was enhanced significantly by the addition of sulfhydryl compounds such as glutathione, cysteine, and D-penicillamine (10 mM) to 142, 161, and 189% of control, respectively. The intestinal bioactivation of VCN to CN- was enhanced by microsomes obtained from intestinal mucosa of phenobarbital (455% of control), beta-naphthoflavone (375% of control), 4-methylpyrazole (305% of control), or ethanol (165% of control)-treated rats. Addition of ethanol (80 mM) to incubation mixtures containing control or ethanol-induced microsomes resulted in significant inhibition of microsomal metabolism of VCN to CN- to 20 and 34% of control, respectively. Addition of dimethyl sulfoxide induced a similar inhibitory effect on VCN metabolism by control or ethanol-induced microsomes (8 and 26% of control, respectively). Furthermore, antibody to cytochrome P450 2E1, but not antibody to cyt P450 2B1, significantly inhibited VCN metabolism by ethanol-induced intestinal microsomes to about 25% of control. Mild inhibition (80-85% of control) of VCN metabolism was detected when antibody to cyt P450 2B1 or 2E1 was added to incubation mixtures containing Pb-induced intestinal microsomes. These findings indicate that extrahepatic tissues such as the intestinal mucosa are capable of metabolizing VCN to CN- and establish a major role of intestinal cyt P450, particularly cyt P450 2E1, in the intestinal metabolism of VCN to CN-.[1]


  1. Intestinal toxicity of acrylonitrile: in vitro metabolism by intestinal cytochrome P450 2E1. Subramanian, U., Ahmed, A.E. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. (1995) [Pubmed]
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