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

Evaluation of the developmental toxicities of coumarin, 4-hydroxycoumarin, and 7-hydroxycoumarin using FETAX.

The developmental toxicities of coumarin and hydroxycoumarin metabolites were evaluated using FETAX. Young X. laevis embryos were exposed to coumarin, 4-hydroxycoumarin, and 7-hydroxycoumarin in each of two separate concentration-response experiments with and without an exogenous metabolic activation system (MAS) and/or inhibited MAS. The MAS was treated with carbon monoxide (CO), cimetidine (CIM), or ellipticine (ELL) to selectively modulate cytochrome P-450 activity. The MAS was also treated with cyclohexene oxide (CHO) to selectively modulate epoxide hydrolase activity. Without the MAS or inhibited MAS, coumarin and 7-hydroxycoumarin were nearly equitoxic, whereas 4-hydroxycoumarin was nearly 2-fold less developmentally toxic than coumarin on an equimolar basis. Addition of the MAS and CIM-MAS increased the developmental toxicities of coumarin and, particularly, 4-hydroxycoumarin. Addition of the CHO-MAS greatly increased the developmental toxicity of coumarin and, especially, 4-hydroxycoumarin. Addition of the ELL- or CO-inhibited MAS did not increase the developmental toxicity of coumarin. However, addition of the intact MAS did not alter the developmental toxicity of 7-hydroxycoumarin. Results from these studies suggested that P-450; specifically ELL-inhibited P-450 (arylhydrocarbon hydroxylase) may have been responsible for increasing the developmental toxicity of coumarin. Furthermore, the increased toxicity of coumarin or 4-hydroxycoumarin following co-incubation with CHO-treated microsomes indicated that highly toxic epoxide intermediates may be produced from oxidative P-450 metabolism and that epoxide hydrolase may play a role in detoxification of the reactive intermediates.[1]


  1. Evaluation of the developmental toxicities of coumarin, 4-hydroxycoumarin, and 7-hydroxycoumarin using FETAX. Fort, D.J., Stover, E.L., Propst, T., Hull, M.A., Bantle, J.A. Drug and chemical toxicology. (1998) [Pubmed]
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