Comparative Biotransformation of Aflatoxin B1 in Mammalian Airway Epithelium

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Oxford University Press

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Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) appears to be a risk factor for upper respiratory tumors in individuals occupationally exposed to AFB1-contaminated grain dusts. To study the potential effects of this mycotoxin in the upper airways, the metabolism of AFB1 was investigated in tracheal cultures and purified tracheal microsomes from rabbit, hamster and rat. These species differ in the proportion of P450-containing non-ciliated epithelial (NC) cells in the upper airway (17, 41, 0% respectively). Cultures from the rabbit produced the highest level of the AFB1 metabolites AFB1-dihydrodiol (AFB1-diol), GSH-AFB1 AFM1 AFB2a and the highest tracheal microsomal pentoxyresorufin-O-dealkylase (PROD) activity (an indicator of that P450 activity which activates AFB1) and greater cytosolic GSH-transferase activity compared to hamster and rat. Tracheal microsomal epoxide hydrolase activity, AFB1-diol production, cytochrome P450 content, P450 reductase and ethoxyresonifin-O-dealkylase (EROD) activity (an indicator of AFB1 detoxification) were highest in the hamster. Although the overall metabolic activity in rat tracheal epithelium was low, PROD-related activity appeared to predominate. Conjugation with GSH was the major detoxification pathway in rabbit and rat upper airways, although levels of AFB1-GSH and activities of glutathione transferase were significantly lower in the rat than in the rabbit and hamster. Hydrolysis of the putative AFB1-2,3-epoxide via epoxide hydrolase appeared to be the major AFB1-diol detoxification pathway in hamster tracheal epithelium as indicted by corresponding high tracheal microsomal AFB1-diol production and EH activity compared to rabbit and rat. Glucuronide and sulfate conjugates of AFB1 and its metabolites were formed in tracheal explant cultures from these three species, although amounts formed were minor. These results indicate that rabbit upper airway epithelium contains metabolic activity primarily involved in AFB1 activation, whereas AFB1 detoxification pathways predominate in hamster. Furthermore, the characteristics of carcinogen metabolism are not predictable based solely on airway morphology.


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