Depletion of S-adenosyl-l-methionine with cycloleucine potentiates cytochrome P450 2E1 toxicity in primary rat hepatocytes

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S-Adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) is the principal biological methyl donor. Methionine adenosyltransferase (MAT) catalyzes the only reaction that generates SAM. Hepatocytes were treated with cycloleucine, an inhibitor of MAT, to evaluate whether hepatocytes enriched in cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) were more sensitive to a decline in SAM. Cycloleucine decreased SAM and glutathione (GSH) levels and induced cytotoxicity in hepatocytes from pyrazole-treated rats (with an increased content of CYP2E1) to a greater extent as compared to hepatocytes from saline-treated rats. Apoptosis caused by cycloleucine in pyrazole hepatocytes appeared earlier and was more pronounced than control hepatocytes and could be prevented by incubation with SAM, glutathione reduced ethyl ester and antioxidants. The cytotoxicity was prevented by treating rats with chlormethiazole, a specific inhibitor of CYP2E1. Cycloleucine induced greater production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in pyrazole hepatocytes than in control hepatocytes, and treatment with SAM, Trolox, and chlormethiazole lowered ROS formation. In conclusion, lowering of hepatic SAM levels produced greater toxicity and apoptosis in hepatocytes enriched in CYP2E1. This is due to elevated ROS production by CYP2E1 coupled to lower levels of hepatoprotective SAM and GSH. We speculate that such interactions e.g. induction of CYP2E1, decline in SAM and GSH may contribute to alcohol liver toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2007


  • Apoptosis
  • Chlormethiazole
  • Cycloleucine
  • Cytochrome P450 2E1
  • Pyrazole
  • Rat hepatocytes
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Reduced glutathione
  • S-Adenosyl-l-methionine


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