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Bioactivation of Phenytoin by Human Cytochrome P450:  Characterization of the Mechanism and Targets of Covalent Adduct Formation

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Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, Chemistry, and Medicine, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia 4072
Cite this: Chem. Res. Toxicol. 1997, 10, 9, 1049–1058
Publication Date (Web):September 15, 1997
Copyright © 1997 American Chemical Society

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    The cytochrome P450-dependent covalent binding of radiolabel derived from phenytoin (DPH) and its phenol and catechol metabolites, 5-(4‘-hydroxyphenyl)-5-phenylhydantoin (HPPH) and 5-(3‘,4‘-dihydroxyphenyl)-5-phenylhydantoin (CAT), was examined in liver microsomes. Radiolabeled HPPH and CAT and unlabeled CAT were obtained from microsomal incubations and isolated by preparative HPLC. NADPH-dependent covalent binding was demonstrated in incubations of human liver microsomes with HPPH. When CAT was used as substrate, covalent adduct formation was independent of NADPH, was enhanced in the presence of systems generating reactive oxygen species, and was diminished under anaerobic conditions or in the presence of cytoprotective reducing agents. Fluorographic analysis showed that radiolabel derived from DPH and HPPH was selectively associated with proteins migrating with approximate relative molecular weights of 57−59 kDa and at the dye front (molecular weights < 23 kDa) on denaturing gels. Lower levels of radiolabel were distributed throughout the molecular weight range. In contrast, little selectivity was seen in covalent adducts formed from CAT. HPPH was shown to be a mechanism-based inactivator of P450, supporting the contention that a cytochrome P450 is one target of covalent binding. These results suggest that covalent binding of radiolabel derived from DPH in rat and human liver microsomes occurs via initial P450-dependent catechol formation followed by spontaneous oxidation to quinone and semiquinone derivatives that ultimately react with microsomal protein. Targets for covalent binding may include P450s, though the catechol appears to be sufficiently stable to migrate out of the P450 active site to form adducts with other proteins. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that DPH can be bioactivated in human liver to metabolites capable of covalently binding to proteins. The relationship of adduct formation to DPH-induced hypersensitivity reactions remains to be clarified.

     Department of Physiology and Pharmacology.

     Department of Chemistry.


     Department of Medicine.


     Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel:  61-7-3365 1410. Fax:  61-7-3365 1766. E-mail:  [email protected].

     Abstract published in Advance ACS Abstracts, August 15, 1997.

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