Mechanisms of Butylated Hydroxytoluene Chemoprevention of Aflatoxicosis - Inhibition of Aflatoxin B1 Metabolism

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Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology







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Chemoprevention of toxicoses and/or cancer through the use of nutrients or pharmacologic compounds is the subject of intense study. Among the many compounds examined, food additives such as antioxidants are being considered due to their ability to reduce disease formation by either induction or inhibition of key enzyme systems. One such compound, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), has been found to protect against cancer formation caused by exposure to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) in rodents. We have shown that dietary BHT protects against clinical signs of aflatoxicosis in turkeys, a species that is very susceptible to this mycotoxin. In this study, the effect of BHT on AFB1 metabolism and other cytochrome P450 (CYP)-related enzyme activities in turkey liver microsomes was examined to discern possible mechanisms of BHT-mediated protection against aflatoxicosis. Ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD), methoxyresorufin O-demethylase (MROD), prototype activities for CYP1A1 and 1A2, respectively, were decreased in the BHT fed (4000 ppm) animals, while oxidation of nifedipine, a prototype activity for CYP3A4, was increased. However, BHT added to microsomal incubations inhibited these CYP activities in a concentration-related manner. Importantly, BHT inhibited conversion of AFB1 to the reactive intermediate AFB1-8,-9-epoxide (AFBO), exhibiting Michaelis–Menton competitive inhibition kinetics (Ki = 0.81 μM). Likewise, microsomes prepared from turkeys fed BHT were significantly less active in AFBO formation compared to those from control birds. When turkeys were fed BHT for up to 40 days, residual BHT was present in liver, breast meat, thigh meat and abdominal fat in concentrations substantially below U.S. FDA guidelines for this antioxidant, but in concentrations greater than the Ki, likely sufficient to inhibit bioactivation of AFB1 in vivo. BHT-induced hydropic degeneration in the livers of BHT fed animals was significantly greater in birds that remained on BHT treatment for up to 30 days, but this lesion diminished in animals fed for 40 days or when returned to a control diet. The data indicate that the observed chemopreventive properties of BHT in turkeys may be due, at least in part, to its ability to inhibit hepatic AFB1 epoxidation and also that the BHT-induced hydropic degeneration is reversible and does not appear to cause long-term effects.


Originally published by Elsevier. Publisher's PDF and HTML fulltext available through remote link.