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Monocrotaline metabolism and distribution in Fisher 344 and Sprague-Dawley rats.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Medicine and Molecular Biosciences, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


The metabolism and distribution of 14C-monocrotaline in Fisher 344 (F344) rats was compared with that in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. In vitro microsomal preparations, in situ isolated perfused livers and in vivo excretion and distribution studies were used to discern any differences between these two strains. These strains have previously been shown to differ in their susceptibility to monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension. Hepatic phase I metabolism appears to be similar in both strains with N-oxidation and dehydrogenation to the reactive pyrroles as the major pathways. During the liver perfusions, SD rats generated more monocrotalic acid than F344 rats, but the microsome and excretion studies demonstrated no significant differences in the amount of monocrotalic acid. Monocrotalic acid is a stable byproducer of dehydromonocrotaline reacting with cellular nucleophiles and indicates the amount of monocrotaline dehydrogenation when carboxylesterase activity is negligible. These data suggest that the differences in strain susceptibility to pulmonary vascular toxicity is most likely due to differences in their response to the toxic metabolites.

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