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Mol Carcinog. 1997 Nov;20(3):308-16.

Induction of mouse cytochrome P450 2B enzymes by amine metabolites of musk xylene: contribution of microsomal enzyme induction to the hepatocarcinogenicity of musk xylene.

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Human Safety Department, Procter and Gamble Co., Miami Valley Laboratories, Cincinnati, Ohio 45253-8707, USA.


Musk xylene (MX) is a synthetic nitromusk perfume ingredient that, although uniformly negative in genotoxicity testing, causes liver tumors in B6C3F1 mice. MX is also capable of inducing cytochrome P450 enzymes in a manner similar to that of phenobarbital (PB), which suggests that epigenetic mechanisms may be involved in the carcinogenic response. At the same time, MX is metabolized in vivo by nitroreduction, a reaction catalyzed by intestinal flora that yields aromatic amine metabolites. These amine metabolites are also capable of inactivating CYP2B10, the major cytochrome P450 enzyme induced by MX treatment. In the study reported here, the monoamine metabolites of MX, o- and p-NH2-MX, were evaluated for their potential to induce CYP2B10 and CYP1A2 mRNAs. Northern blot analyses indicated that both amines markedly induced CYP2B10 mRNA, whereas CYP1A2 mRNA, the enzyme implicated in the bioactivation of aromatic amines and frequently induced by aromatic amines, was induced only slightly, a response that was not different from that seen with PB. Induction of CYP2B10 mRNA suggested that the amine metabolites may contribute to the enzyme induction profile seen with MX treatment. To test this hypothesis, mice were treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics (neomycin, tetracycline, and bacitracin) to eliminate the intestinal flora and prevent formation of o- and p-NH2-MX. In antibiotic-treated mice treated with MX (200 mg/kg) for 4 d, no evidence of microsomal enzyme induction was observed, including no increases in liver weight, total cytochrome P450 content, or CYP2B protein levels. These results indicate that the amine metabolites of MX are responsible for the enzyme induction seen after MX administration. Thus, the biochemical and molecular effects of amine metabolites of MX are markedly different from those of other aromatic amines but very similar to those of PB. Therefore, it appears that MX is a non-genotoxic chemical that may cause mouse liver tumors in a manner analogous to that of PB.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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