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Arch Toxicol. 1992;66(3):175-81.

Inhibition of ferrochelatase and accumulation of porphyrins in mouse hepatocyte cultures exposed to porphyrinogenic chemicals.

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Biochemical Toxicology Section, Imperial Chemical Industries PLC, Central Toxicology Laboratory, Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK.


The ability of 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine (DDC), 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-4-ethyl-1,4-dihydro-2,6-dimethylpyridine (EDDC) and griseofulvin to induce porphyria in primary cultures of mouse hepatocytes has been examined. Exposure of cultured mouse hepatocytes to DDC, EDDC or griseofulvin resulted in a marked inhibition of ferrochelatase which was sustained over the 4-day exposure period. Maximal concentrations of DDC (25 microM), EDDC (25 microM) and griseofulvin (25 microM) resulted in 14-fold, 30-fold and 9-fold increases, respectively, in total porphyrin in the culture medium. Analysis of the porphyrins accumulating indicated a predominance of protoporphyrin with all three xenobiotics. Addition of 5-aminolaevulinic acid (ALA) to mouse hepatocyte cultures (10-1000 microM) resulted in much larger increases (up to 164-fold) in porphyrin accumulation in the medium and the porphyrin accumulating was predominantly uroporphyrin. These studies have demonstrated that primary cultures of mouse hepatocytes provide a valid mechanism-based in vitro model of the hepatic porphyrias produced by the dihydropyridines and griseofulvin in mice.

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