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Arch Toxicol. 1989;63(5):351-5.

Metabolism of methyl chloride by human erythrocytes.

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Institut für Arbeitsphysiologie, Universität Dortmund, Federal Republic of Germany.


Erythrocyte cytoplasm of rats, mice and humans was incubated in head space vials with methyl chloride and the decline in concentration of the substance monitored as a parameter of metabolism. The production of S-methylglutathione was controlled by tlc. Rats, mice, bovines, pigs, sheep and rhesus monkeys showed no conversion of methyl chloride in erythrocyte cytoplasm. About 60% of the human blood samples showed a significant metabolic elimination of the substance (conjugators), whereas about 40% did not (non-conjugators). The production of S-methylglutathione indicated enzymatic metabolism of the substance by glutathione S-transferases. In literature, a "major" and "minor" form of human erythrocyte glutathione S-transferase has been described. The results indicate that the "minor" form is probably responsible for the unique metabolism of methyl chloride in human erythrocytes.

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