Regulation of aflatoxin B1-metabolizing aldehyde reductase and glutathione S-transferase by chemoprotectors

L I McLellan, D J Judah, G E Neal, J D Hayes

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    Ingestion of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) represents a major risk factor in the aetiology of human hepatocellular carcinoma. In the rat, the harmful effects of AFB1 can be prevented by the administration of certain drugs which induce hepatic detoxification enzymes. We have previously shown that treatment of rats with the chemoprotector ethoxyquin (EQ) results in a marked increase in expression of the Alpha-class glutathione S-transferase (GST) Yc2 subunit which has high activity towards AFB1-8,9-epoxide [Hayes, Judah, McLellan, Kerr, Peacock and Neal (1991) Biochem. J. 279, 385-398]. To allow an assessment of whether the increased expression of GST Yc2 represents a general adaptive resistance mechanism to chemical stress, that is invoked by both chemoprotectors and carcinogens, we have examined the effects of EQ, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), phenobarbital (PB), AFB1, 3-methylcholanthrene (3-MC) and clofibrate on the AFB1-glutathione-conjugating activity and the GST subunit levels in rat liver. In addition, the effect of these drugs on the hepatic levels of an aldehyde reductase (AFB1-AR) that metabolizes the cytotoxic dialdehydic form of AFB1 has been studied as this enzyme also appears to be important in chemoprotection. Administration of the antioxidants EQ, BHA or BHT, as well as PB, led to a marked increase in levels of the GST Yc2 subunit in rat liver, and this increase coincided with a substantial rise in the GST activity towards AFB1-8,9-epoxide; neither AFB1, 3-MC nor clofibrate caused induction of Yc2 or any of the GST subunits examined. Among the xenobiotics studied, EQ was found to be the most effective inducing agent for the Yc2 subunit as well as Yc1, Yb1 and Yf. However, PB was equally as effective as EQ in increasing levels of the Ya-type subunits, although it was not found to be as potent an inducer of the other GST subunits, including Yc2. In addition to induction of GST, EQ caused a substantial increase in the hepatic content of AFB1-AR. Both BHA and BHT were also able to induce this enzyme but, by contrast, PB was found to be a poor inducer of AFB1-AR. AFB1, 3-MC and clofibrate were unable to serve as inducers of this reductase. The presence of Alpha-class GST, including the Yc2 subunit, was examined in various rat tissues. Constitutive expression of Yc2 was found in the epididymis at levels comparable with that observed in the liver from EQ-treated rats.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)117-24
    Number of pages8
    JournalBiochemical Journal
    Volume300 ( Pt 1)
    Publication statusPublished - 15 May 1994


    • Aflatoxin B1/metabolism
    • Aldehyde Reductase/biosynthesis
    • Animals
    • Anticarcinogenic Agents/pharmacology
    • Butylated Hydroxyanisole/pharmacology
    • Butylated Hydroxytoluene/pharmacology
    • Clofibrate/pharmacology
    • Enzyme Induction/drug effects
    • Ethoxyquin/pharmacology
    • Glutathione Transferase/biosynthesis
    • Isoenzymes/biosynthesis
    • Liver/drug effects
    • Male
    • Methylcholanthrene/pharmacology
    • Phenobarbital/pharmacology
    • Rats
    • Rats, Inbred F344
    • Tissue Distribution
    • Xenobiotics/pharmacology


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