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Toxicon. 2002 Apr;40(4):471-6.

Hepatic xenobiotic metabolism of cylindrospermopsin in vivo in the mouse.

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  • 1National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology, 39 Kessels Road, 4108, Coopers Plains, Qld., Australia.


Cylindrospermopsin (CYN) is a hepatotoxin isolated from the blue-green alga Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii. The role of both glutathione (GSH) and the cytochrome P450 enzyme system (P450) in the mechanism of toxicity of CYN has been previously investigated in in vitro systems. We have investigated the role of GSH and P450 in vivo in mice. Mice pre-treated with buthionine sulphoximine and diethyl maleate to deplete hepatic GSH prior to dosing with 0.2mg/kg CYN showed a seven-day survival rate of 5/13 while the control group rate was 9/14. Dosing mice with 0.2mg/kg CYN produced a small decrease in hepatic GSH with a characteristic rebound effect at 24h. The magnitude of this effect is however small and combined with the non-significant difference in survival rates after GSH depletion suggest depletion of GSH by CYN could not be a primary mechanism for CYN toxicity. Conversely, pre-treatment with piperonyl butoxide, a P450 inhibitor, protected mice against CYN toxicity giving a survival rate of 10/10 compared with 4/10 in the control group (p < 0.05 Chi squared) and was protective at doses up to 0.8 mg/kg, suggesting activation of CYN by P450 is of primary importance in the mechanism of action.

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