Journal Article

Mechanism of Ethylbenzene-Induced Mouse-Specific Lung Tumor: Metabolism of Ethylbenzene by Rat, Mouse, and Human Liver and Lung Microsomes

Shakil A. Saghir, David L. Rick, E. L. McClymont, Fagen Zhang, Michael J. Bartels and James S. Bus

in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 107, issue 2, pages 352-366
Published in print February 2009 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI:
Mechanism of Ethylbenzene-Induced Mouse-Specific Lung Tumor: Metabolism of Ethylbenzene by Rat, Mouse, and Human Liver and Lung Microsomes

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This study was conducted to determine species differences in the metabolism of ethylbenzene (EB) in liver and lung. EB (0.22–7.0mM) was incubated with mouse, rat and human liver and lung microsomes and the formation of 1-phenylethanol (1PE), acetophenone (AcPh), 2-ethylphenol (2EP), 4-ethylphenol (4EP), 2,5-ethylquinone, and 3,4-ethylquinone were measured. Reactive metabolites (2,5-dihydroxyethylbenzene-GSH [2EP-GSH] and 3,4-dihydroxyethylbenzene-GSH [4EP-GSH]) were monitored via glutathione (GSH) trapping technique. None of the metabolites were formed at detectable levels in incubations with human lung microsomes. Percent conversion of EB to 1PE ranged from 1% (rat lung; 7.0mM EB) to 58% (mouse lung; 0.22mM EB). More 1PE was formed in mouse lung than in mouse liver microsomes, although formation of 1PE by rat liver and lung microsomes was similar. Metabolism of EB to 1PE was in the order of mouse > rat > human. Formation of AcPh was roughly an order of magnitude lower than 1PE. Conversion of EB to ring-hydroxylated metabolites was much lower (0.0001% [4EP-GSH; rat lung] to 0.6% [2EP-GSH; mouse lung]); 2EP-GSH was typically 10-fold higher than 4EP-GSH. Formation of 2EP-GSH was higher by lung (highest by mouse lung) than liver microsomes and the formation of 2EP-GSH by mouse liver microsomes was higher than rat and human liver microsomes. Increasing concentrations of EB did lead to a decrease in amount of some formed metabolites. This may indicate some level of substrate- or metabolite-mediated inhibition. High concentrations of 2EP and 4EP were incubated with microsomes to further investigate their oxidation to ethylcatechol (ECat) and ethylhydroquinone (EHQ). Conversion of 2EP to EHQ ranged from 6% to 9% by liver (mouse > human > rat) and from 0.1% to 18% by lung microsomes (mouse >> rat >> human). Conversion of 4EP to ECat ranged from 2% to 4% by liver (mouse > human ∼ rat) and from 0.3% to 7% by lung microsomes (mouse >> rat >> human). Although ring-oxidized metabolites accounted for a relatively small fraction of overall EB metabolism, its selective elevation in mouse lung microsomes is nonetheless consistent with the hypothesized mode of action for observed preferential toxicity of EB to the lung in this species.

Keywords: ethylbenzene; liver and lung microsomes; rat; mouse and human microsomal metabolism; 1-phenylethanol; acetophenone; 2-ethylphenol; 4-ethylphenol; ethylquinone; ethylhydroquinone and ethylcatechol

Journal Article.  7254 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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