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Biochem Pharmacol. 1988 Apr 15;37(8):1509-17.

Qualitative and quantitative differences in the induction and inhibition of hepatic benzo[a]pyrene metabolism in the rat and hamster.

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Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, State University of New York, Buffalo 14214.


The present study compared the induction and inhibition of the metabolism of the prototype polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), in rat and hamster liver microsomes. The production of total polar metabolites was quantitated by separating 3H-metabolites from [3H]-BaP using reverse-phase thin-layer chromatography. The rate of hepatic microsomal BaP metabolism was similar in the rat and hamster (0.81 vs 0.72 nmol/min/nmol cytochrome P-450 respectively). In the rat, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD; 5 micrograms/kg, i.p.) and 3-methylcholanthrene (3-MC; 50 mg/kg, i.p., X 3 days) pretreatments doubled the rate of BaP metabolism, whereas phenobarbital pretreatment (PB; 80 mg/kg, i.p., X 3 days) had no effect. In contrast, hamster hepatic microsomal BaP metabolism was elevated 2.3-fold by PB pretreatment, whereas TCDD and 3-MC pretreatments had no effect. Isosafrole pretreatment (ISO; 150 mg/kg, i.p., X 3 days) elevated the rate by almost 2-fold in each species. Another cytochrome P-448-mediated activity, 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD), was induced by the same compounds that induced BaP metabolism in the rat. In hamster liver microsomes, in contrast to BaP metabolism, EROD was induced by TCDD and 3-MC but not PB or ISO pretreatments. The results suggest differences in the substrate specificity of the cytochromes P-448-450 induced by TCDD, 3-MC and PB in these species. This was supported by the different selectivity of the in vitro inhibitors, metyrapone and 7,8-benzoflavone, towards BaP metabolism and EROD in hepatic microsomes from TCDD- or PB-pretreated rats and hamsters. Reverse-phase HPLC analysis indicated that, while 3-hydroxy-BaP was the major metabolite formed by the untreated rat, untreated hamster liver microsomes formed predominantly BaP-4,5-diol. Microsomes from TCDD-treated rats generated elevated levels of all BaP-diols, diones and 3-hydroxy-BaP, with the major metabolites being BaP-9,10- and BaP-7,8-diols. In contrast, the metabolite profile from TCDD-pretreated hamsters was unchanged from the control. PB-treated hamster microsomes produced elevated levels of BaP-diones and 3-hydroxy-BaP. However, the major hepatic metabolite formed by PB-pretreated hamsters was BaP-4,5-diol, while BaP-9,10- and BaP-7,8-diols were not detected. The results of the study indicate differences in the induced cytochrome P-450s and the generation of toxic BaP metabolites in the liver of the rat and hamster.

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