Journal Article

Diglycolic Acid Is the Nephrotoxic Metabolite in Diethylene Glycol Poisoning Inducing Necrosis in Human Proximal Tubule Cells <i>In Vitro</i>

Greg M. Landry, Sarah Martin and Kenneth E. McMartin

in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 124, issue 1, pages 35-44
Published in print November 2011 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI:
Diglycolic Acid Is the Nephrotoxic Metabolite in Diethylene Glycol Poisoning Inducing Necrosis in Human Proximal Tubule Cells In Vitro

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Diethylene glycol (DEG), a solvent and chemical intermediate, can produce an acute toxic syndrome, the hallmark of which is acute renal failure due to cortical tubular degeneration and proximal tubular necrosis. DEG is metabolized to two primary metabolites, 2-hydroxyethoxyacetic acid (2-HEAA) and diglycolic acid (DGA), which are believed to be the proximate toxicants. The precise mechanism of toxicity has yet to be elucidated, so these studies were designed to determine which metabolite was responsible for the proximal tubule cell death. Human proximal tubule (HPT) cells in culture, obtained from normal cortical tissue and passaged 3–6 times, were incubated with increasing concentrations of DEG, 2-HEAA, or DGA separately and in combination for 48 h at pH 6 or 7.4, and various parameters of necrotic and apoptotic cell death were measured. DEG and 2-HEAA did not produce any cell death. DGA produced dose-dependent necrosis at concentrations above 25 mmol/l. DGA did not affect caspase-3 activity and increased annexin V staining only in propidium iodide-stained cells. Hence, DGA induced necrosis, not apoptosis, as corroborated by severe depletion of cellular adenosine triphosphate levels. DGA is structurally similar to citric acid cycle intermediates that are taken up by specific transporters in kidney cells. HPT cells, incubated with N-(p-amylcinnamoyl)anthranilic acid, a sodium dicarboxylate-1 transporter inhibitor showed significantly decreased cell death compared with DGA alone. These studies demonstrate that DGA is the toxic metabolite responsible for DEG-induced proximal tubular necrosis and suggest a possible transporter-mediated uptake of DGA leading to toxic accumulation and cellular dysfunction.

Keywords: diethylene glycol; nephrotoxicity; proximal tubular necrosis; hydroxyethoxyacetate; diglycolic acid; oxybisacetate

Journal Article.  6242 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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