To exert cytotoxicity chromium VI (Cr(VI)) has to be reduced inside cells. This is achieved through both enzymatic and non-enzymatic mechanisms. Enzymatic mechanisms include DT-diaphorase, cytochrome P450, and NADPH cytochrome c reductase, and non-enzymatic mechanisms involve reduced glutathione (GSH) and ascorbic acid. The extent of cytotoxicity of Cr(VI) may thus be influenced by the availability of non-enzymatic reductants, and by the activities of the reductase enzymes. In the present paper we have investigated the effect of pretreatment with the inducing agents, phenobarbitone (PB) and 3-methylcholanthrene (3-MC), on the response of rat hepatocytes to Cr(VI). Pretreatment with PB increased the activity of NADPH cytochrome c reductase, and 3-MC increased DT-diaphorase activity in hepatocytes. Both inducers increased cytochrome P450 content, while neither influenced intracellular GSH content or the activity of glutathione reductase. Pretreatment with either PB or 3-MC resulted in amelioration of Cr(VI) toxicity both in terms of hepatocyte viability, and to a greater extent, in terms of Cr(VI) induced GSH loss. We propose that the inducing agents increase the amount of enzymatic reduction of Cr(VI) relative to non-enzymatic reduction. Thus, less GSH is used in the reduction of Cr(VI), and intracellular GSH does not fall as rapidly as in cells from control animals therefore cell integrity is better maintained. Exposure to environmental inducing agents in vivo may also alter the response of human tissues to Cr(VI).
- inducing agents