Regioselectivity in rat microsomal metabolism of benzo [a] pyrene: Evidence for involvement of two distinct binding sites

A. K.L. Wong, E. Cavalieri, E. Rogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The metabolic profile of benzo[a] pyrene (BP) in cumene hydroperoxide-(CHP)-dependent reaction by male rat liver microsomes was dependent on CHP concentration. At 0.05 mM CHP, 3-hydroxy-BP was the major metabolite. Increase in CHP reduced 3-hydroxy-BP formation but increased BP quinone formation simultaneously. This change in metabolic profile was reversed by preincubation with pyrene. Pyrene (PY) selectively inhibited quinone formation but enhanced 3-hydroxy-BP formation. Naphthalene (NP) had no effect on BP quinone formation but inhibited BP 3-hydroxylation. Phenanthrene (PA) and benz[a] anthracene (BA) inhibited effectively 3-hydroxy-BP formation but only slgithly quinone formation. BP binding to microsomal protein correlated to quinone formation and not BP 3-hydroxylation. BP metabolism by female rat liver microsomes also depended on CHP concentration but was much less efficient than the male. Quinones were consistently predominant metabolites and their formation was also inhibited by pyrene. Our data provide evidence that regioselectivity in BP metabolism involves at least two distinct binding sites. One site recognizes the benzo region of BP in BP 3-hydroxylation and the other recognizes the pyrene region in quinone formation. The different ratios of 3-hydroxy-BP to quinone formation by male and female rat liver microsomes suggest that the two binding sites are probably located at separate cytochrome P-450 isozymes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-126
Number of pages14
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 1986


  • BA
  • BP
  • CHP
  • HPLC
  • NP
  • PA
  • PAH
  • PY
  • benz[a]anthracene
  • benzo[a]pyrene
  • cumene hydroperoxide
  • high pressure liquid chromatography
  • naphthalene
  • phenanthrene
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
  • pyrene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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