Journal Article

Molecular mechanisms of toxic effects of fotemustine in rat hepatocytes and subcellular rat liver fractions

Jan P.G. Brakenhoff, Jan N.M. Commandeur, Lars W. Wormhoudt, Ed J. Groot and Nico P.E. Vermeulen

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 17, issue 4, pages 715-724
Published in print April 1996 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online April 1996 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/17.4.715
Molecular mechanisms of toxic effects of fotemustine in rat
                    hepatocytes and subcellular rat liver fractions

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Fotemustine is a clinically used DNA-alkylating 2-chloro-ethyl-substituted N-nitrosourea, which sometimes shows signs of haematotoxicity and reversible liver and renal toxicity as toxic side-effects. Mechanistic data on these side-effects are scarce and incomplete. In this study, firstly the cytotoxicity of fotemustine in freshly isolated rat hepato-cytes was investigated and secondly the metabolism of fotemustine and possible mechanisms involved in the observed cytotoxicity. Fotemustine caused concentration-and time-dependent cytotoxic effects in rat hepatocytes. Extensive GSH-depletion and formation of GSSG were first observed, followed by lipid peroxidation and finally by cell death measured as LDH-leakage. 2-Chloroethyl analogues of fotemustine, which in contrast to fotemustine have no carbamoylating potency, were not toxic to rat hepatocytes. The data suggest that the cytotoxicity of fotemustine is resulting from its reactive decompostition product, DEP-isocyanate. GSH-conjugation of DEP-iso-cyanate was shown to protect against the cytotoxicity of fotemustine, however, onlytemporary and not completely. Synthetical DEP-SG, the GSH-conjugate of DEP-iso-cyanate, was also toxic to rat hepatocytes,albeit to a significantly lesser extent than fotemustine. In rat liver microsomes, no fotemustine-induced LPO was observed, suggesting that reactive decomposition products of fotemustine do not directly cause peroxidation of cellular membranes.Fotemustine did not affect the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase, catalase, GSH-peroxidase, GSSG-reductase and GSH S-transferases. Thus, direct effects on these antioxidant enzymes are not likely to explain the cytotoxic effects of fotemustine in hepatocytes. In conclusion, it is proposed that the cytotoxicity of fote mustine in rat hepatocytes is caused byrapid and extensive depletion of GSH by DEP-isocyanate, a reactive decomposition product of fotemustine, consequently hampering the endogenous protection against its own toxicity. Knowledge of molecular mechanisms of the cytotoxicity of fotemustine may contribute to a more rational design of selective protection against toxic side-effects which occur upon theraphyof patients with fotemustine.

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Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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