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Neurotoxicology. 2000 Aug;21(4):581-7.

The PON1 gene and detoxication.

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Department of Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


It has been assumed since its discovery that serum paraoxonase (PON1) plays a major role in the detoxication of specific organophosphorus compounds. It was also assumed that individuals with low PON1 activity would be more susceptible to paraoxon/parathion poisoning than individuals with higher PON1 activity. Evidence supporting this hypothesis was provided by injection of rabbit PON1 into rodents. Injected PON1 protected against paraoxon toxicity in rats and chlorpyrifos oxon toxicity in mice. The recent availability of PON1 knockout mice has provided an in vivo system with which one can more closely examine the role of PON1 in detoxication. PON1 knockout mice demonstrated dramatically increased sensitivity to chlorpyrifos oxon and diazoxon and moderately increased sensitivity to the respective parent compounds. The PON1 knockout mutation also resulted in the elimination of liver PON1 activity, accounting for the dramatic increase in sensitivity to chlorpyrifos oxon and diazoxon. Totally unexpected was our finding that the PON1 knockout mice were not more sensitive to paraoxon. This was particularly surprising in light of the earlier enzyme injection experiments. Differences in the relative catalytic efficiencies of rabbit vs. mouse PON1 for the specific oxon forms explain these observations. Mouse PON1 has good catalytic efficiency for the hydrolysis of diazoxon and chlorpyrifos oxon, but a poor efficiency for paraoxon hydrolysis relative to rabbit PON1. The human PON1Q192 isoform has a catalytic efficiency similar to that of mice, whereas the human PON1R192 isoform has a much better catalytic efficiency, predicting that individuals expressing high levels of the PONIR192 isoform may have increased resistance to paraoxon toxicity.

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