Abstract: Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are naturally occurring genotoxic chemicals produced by a large number of plants. The high toxicity of many pyrrolizidine alkaloids has caused considerable loss of free-ranging livestock due to liver and pulmonary lesions. Chronic exposure of toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids to laboratory animals induces cancer. This investigation studies the metabolic activation of retrorsine, a representative naturally occurring tumorigenic pyrrolizidine alkaloid, and shows that a genotoxic mechanism is correlated to the tumorigenicity of retrorsine. Metabolism of retrorsine by liver microsomes of F344 female rats produced two metabolites, 6, 7-dihydro-7-hydroxy-1-hydroxymethyl-5H-pyrrolizine (DHP), at a rate of 4.8 ± 0.1 nmol/mg/min, and retrorsine-N-oxide, at a rate of 17.6±0.5 nmol/mg/min. Metabolism was enhanced 1.7-fold by using liver microsomes prepared from dexamethasone-treated rats. DHP formation was inhibited 77% and retrorsine N-oxide formation was inhibited 29% by troleandomycin, a P450 3A enzyme inhibitor. Metabolism of retrorsine with lung, kidney, and spleen microsomes from dexamethasone-treated rats also generated DHP and the N-oxide derivative. When rat liver microsomal metabolism of retrorsine occurred in the presence of calf thymus DNA, a set of DHP-derived DNA adducts was formed; these adducts were detected and quantified by using a previously developed 32P-postlabeling/HPLC method. These same DNA adducts were also found in liver DNA of rats gavaged with retrorsine. Since DHP-derived DNA adducts are suggested to be potential biomarkers of riddelliine-induced tumorigenicity, our results indicate that (i) similar to the metabolic activation of riddelliine, the mechanism of retrorsine-induced carcinogenicity in rats is also through a genotoxic mechanism involving DHP; and (ii) the set of DHP-derived DNA adducts found in liver DNA of rats gavaged with retrorsine or riddelliine can serve as biomarkers for the tumorigenicity induced by retronecine-type pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
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Wang, Y.-P.; Fu, P.P.; Chou, M.W. Metabolic Activation of the Tumorigenic Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid, Retrorsine, Leading to DNA Adduct Formation In Vivo. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2005, 2, 74-79.
Wang Y-P, Fu PP, Chou MW. Metabolic Activation of the Tumorigenic Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid, Retrorsine, Leading to DNA Adduct Formation In Vivo. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2005; 2(1):74-79.
Wang, Yu-Ping; Fu, Peter P.; Chou, Ming W. 2005. "Metabolic Activation of the Tumorigenic Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid, Retrorsine, Leading to DNA Adduct Formation In Vivo." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2, no. 1: 74-79.