In vitro metabolism of carbofuran by human, mouse, and rat cytochrome P450 and interactions with chlorpyrifos, testosterone, and estradiol.
Carbofuran is a carbamate pesticide used in agricultural practice throughout the world. Its effect as a pesticide is due to its ability to inhibit acetylcholinesterase activity. Though carbofuran has a long history of use, there is little information available with respect to its metabolic fate and disposition in mammals. The present study was designed to investigate the comparative in vitro metabolism of carbofuran from human, rat, and mouse liver microsomes (HLM, RLM, MLM, respectively), and characterize the specific enzymes involved in such metabolism, with particular reference to human metabolism. Carbofuran is metabolized by cytochrome P450 (CYP) leading to the production of one major ring oxidation metabolite, 3-hydroxycarbofuran, and two minor metabolites. The affinity of carbofuran for CYP enzymes involved in the oxidation to 3-hydroxycarbofuran is significantly less in HLM (Km=1.950 mM) than in RLM (Km=0.210 mM), or MLM (Km=0.550 mM). Intrinsic clearance rate calculations indicate that HLM are 14-fold less efficient in the metabolism of carbofuran to 3-hydroxycarbofuran than RLM or MLM. A screen of 15 major human CYP isoforms for metabolic ability with respect to carbofuran metabolism demonstrated that CYP3A4 is the major isoform responsible for carbofuran oxidation in humans. CYP1A2 and 2C19 are much less active while other human CYP isoforms have minimal or no activity toward carbofuran. In contrast with the human isoforms, members of the CYP2C family in rats are likely to have a primary role in carbofuran metabolism. Normalization of HLM data with the average levels of each CYP in native HLM, indicates that carbofuran metabolism is primarily mediated by CYP3A4 (percent total normalized rate (% TNR)=77.5), although CYP1A2 and 2C19 play ancillary roles (% TNR=9.0 and 6.0, respectively). This is substantiated by the fact that ketoconazole, a specific inhibitor of CYP3A4, is an excellent inhibitor of 3-hydroxycarbofuran formation in HLM (IC50: 0.31 microM). Chlorpyrifos, an irreversible non-competitive inhibitor of CYP3A4, inhibits the formation of 3-hydroxycarbofuran in HLM (IC50: 39 microM). The use of phenotyped HLM demonstrated that individuals with high levels of CYP3A4 have the greatest potential to metabolize carbofuran to its major metabolite. The variation in carbofuran metabolism among 17 single-donor HLM samples is over 5-fold and the best correlation between CYP isoform activity and carbofuran metabolism was observed with CYP3A4 (r2=0.96). The interaction of carbofuran and the endogenous CYP3A4 substrates, testosterone and estradiol, were also investigated. Testosterone metabolism was activated by carbofuran in HLM and CYP3A4, however, less activation was observed for carbofuran metabolism by testosterone in HLM and CYP3A4. No interactions between carbofuran and estradiol metabolism were observed.
Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, North Carolina State University, PO Box 7633, Raleigh, NC 27695