The mechanisms involved in the metabolic activation and toxicity of 2-methylfuran (2-MF), a naturally occurring cytotoxic furan found in cigarette smoke and coffee are being investigated. Following administration of 2-((C14)methyl) furan to rats, extensive covalent binding of label to macromolecules in liver, lungs and kidney was observed. Smaller amounts were bound to tissues with little or no known mixed function oxidase activity. Maximal covalent binding to both protein and DNA was observed in the liver, the target organ where toxicity is manifested. Liver GSH levels decreased by a third, half an hour after administration of 2-MF indicating the formation of electrophilic metabolites. Pretreatment with various inhibitors and inducers of metabolism showed that phenobarbital potentiated toxicity of 2-MF and was followed by increased urinary excretion of label, while 3-methylcholanthrene or piperonylbutoxide did not markedly alter the toxicity of 2-MF. Pretreatment with buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), a GSH depletor and a chemosensitizing agent, while decreasing covalent binding, also decreased toxicity, whereas diethylmaleate, also a GSH depletor, increased both covalent binding and toxicity of 2-MF. BSO, which depletes GSH levels by inhigibint cysteine synthetase is known to enhance cysteine levels in tissues. Thus, BSO probably decreases covalent binding by trapping the reactive intermediate as the stable cysteine conjugate. Pretreatment with L-2-oxo thiazoline 4-carboxylate (OTZ), a promoter of GSH biosyntheisi potentiated hepatoxicity and increased covalent binding to liver proteins, although coadministration of OTZ and BSO prior to an i.p. dose of 2-MF, decreased the covalent binding to liver proteins and the serum GTP levels compared to that of rats that received 2-MF alone. The GSH conjugate of the reactive metaboliter of 2-MF is unstable, which may explain the potentiation of hepatoxicity of 2-MF by OTZ.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Division of Cancer Treatment (NCI)
Intramural Research (Z01)
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Cancer Treatment
United States
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