Toxicogenomics and Metabolomics of Pentamethylchromanol (PMCol)-Induced Hepatotoxicity


Toufan Parman, Deborah I. Bunin, Hanna H. Ng, Jonathan E. McDunn, Jacob E. Wulff, Abraham Wang, Robert Swezey, Laura Rasay, David G. Fairchild, Izet M. Kapetanovic, Carol E. Green, Toxicogenomics and Metabolomics of Pentamethylchromanol (PMCol)-Induced Hepatotoxicity, Toxicological Sciences, Volume 124, Issue 2, December 2011, Pages 487–501,


Pentamethyl-6-chromanol (PMCol), a chromanol-type compound related to vitamin E, was proposed as an anticancer agent with activity against androgen-dependent cancers. In repeat dose-toxicity studies in rats and dogs, PMCol caused hepatotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, and hematological effects. The objectives of this study were to determine the mechanisms of the observed toxicity and identify sensitive early markers of target organ injury by integrating classical toxicology, toxicogenomics, and metabolomic approaches. PMCol was administered orally to male Sprague-Dawley rats at 200 and 2000 mg/kg daily for 7 or 28 days. Changes in clinical chemistry included elevated alanine aminotransferase, total bilirubin, cholesterol and triglycerides—indicative of liver toxicity that was confirmed by microscopic findings (periportal hepatocellular hydropic degeneration and cytomegaly) in treated rats. Metabolomic evaluations of liver revealed time- and dose-dependent changes, including depletion of total glutathione and glutathione conjugates, decreased methionine, and increased S-adenosylhomocysteine, cysteine, and cystine. PMCol treatment also decreased cofactor levels, namely, FAD and increased NAD(P)+. Microarray analysis of liver found that differentially expressed genes were enriched in the glutathione and cytochrome P450 pathways by PMCol treatment. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction of six upregulated genes and one downregulated gene confirmed the microarray results. In conclusion, the use of metabolomics and toxicogenomics demonstrates that chronic exposure to high doses of PMCol induces liver damage and dysfunction, probably due to both direct inhibition of glutathione synthesis and modification of drug metabolism pathways. Depletion of glutathione due to PMCol exposure ultimately results in a maladaptive response, increasing the consumption of hepatic dietary antioxidants and resulting in elevated reactive oxygen species levels associated with hepatocellular damage and deficits in liver function.

Keywords: pentamethylchromanol, gene expression, metabolomics, hepatotoxicity, glutathione, toxicogenomic

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