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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2000 Sep 1;167(2):132-9.

Studies of ochratoxin A-induced inhibition of phenylalanine hydroxylase and its reversal by phenylalanine.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry and Hematology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, 10000, Croatia.


Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a nephrotoxic, hepatotoxic, and teratogenic mycotoxin produced by storage molds on a variety of foodstuffs. Its chemical structure is composed of an isocumarin part linked to l-phenylalanine. Inhibition of phenylalanine hydroxylase and other enzymes that use phenylalanine as substrate is based on this structural homology. We have examined the effects of low doses of ochratoxin A on the activity of phenylalanine hydroxylase in kidney and in liver of experimental animals. Daily administration of ochratoxin A (50 microg/kg body wt, for 10 and 35 days, respectively) caused a significant reduction in the phenylalanine hydroxylase activity. Inhibition was more pronounced in liver than in kidney, although actual ochratoxin A concentration was higher in the kidney tissue. We observed an apparent increase in the affinity of phenylalanine hydroxylase for substrate following OTA administration to animals. However, simple competitive inhibition was observed for both tissues in vitro (K(i liver) = 0.0119 +/- 0.002 mM and K(i kidney) = 0.13 +/- 0.026 mM). Simultaneous application of ochratoxin A with phenylalanine could reduce inhibition of phenylalanine hydroxylase, in particular in liver. Enzyme activity was almost completely preserved after 35 days of combined treatment. The results obtained suggest that daily administration of ochratoxin A in low doses produced an inhibitory effect that could be diminished by competitive action of l-phenylalanine.

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