The role of metabolism in the toxicity of N-alkylformamides
The industrial solvent N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) and the investigational anti-tumour agent N-methylformamide (NMF) cause liver damage in rodents and humans. The hepatotoxicity of N-alkylformamides is linked to their metabolism to N-alkylcarbamic acid thioesters. The enzymatic details of this pathway were investigated. Hepatocytes isolated from BALB/c mice which had been pretreated with acetone, an inducer of the cytochrome P-450 isozyme CYP2E1, were incubated with NMF (10mM). NMF caused extensive toxicity (> 90% ) as determined by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, compared to cells from untreated animals. Incubation of liver cells with NMR for 6 hrs caused 6017% LDH release whilst in the presence of DMSP (10mM), an alternative substrate for CYP2E1, LDH release was reduced to 2010% . The metabolism of NMF to S-(N-methylcarbamoyl)glutathione (SMG) was measured in incubates with liver microsomes from mice, rats or humans. Metabolism of NMF was elevated in microsomes isolated from rats and mice pretreated with acetone, by 339% and 183% respectively. Pretreatment of animals with 4-methylpyrazole induced the metabolism of NMF to 280% by rat microsomes, but was without effect on NMF metabolism by mouse microsomes. The CYP2E1 inhibitors or alternative substrates diethyl dithiocarbamate (DEDTC), p-nitrophenol (PNP) and dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) strongly inhibited the metabolism of NMF in suspension of rat liver microsomes, at concentrations which did not effect aminopyrine N-demethylation. The rate of metabolism of NMF to SMG in human microsomes correlated (r> 0.8) with the rate of metabolism of chlorzoxazone, a CYP2E1 probe. A polyclonal antibody against rat CYP2E1 (10mg/nmol P-450) inhibited NMF metabolism in microsomes from rats and humans by 75% and 80% , respectively. The amount of immunoblottable enzyme in human microsomes, determined using an anti-rat CYP2E1 antibody, correlated with the rate of NMR metabolism (r> 0.8). Purified rat CYP2E1 catalysed the generation of SMG from NMF. Formation of the DMF metabolite N-hydroxymethyl-N-methylformamide (HMMF) in incubations with rat liver microsomes was elevated by 200% following pretreatment of animals with acetone. Co-incubation with DEDTC (100M) inhibited HMMF generation from DMF by 88% . Co-incubation of DMF (10mM) with NMF (1mM) inhibited the formation of S< G by 95% . A polyclonal antibody against rat CYP2E1 (10mg/nmol P-450) inhibited generation of HMMF in incubates with rat and human liver microsomes by 68.4% and 67.5% , respectively. Purified rat CYP2E1 catalysed the generation of HMMF from DMF.