Toxicology letters

Production of a toxic, novel mammalian metabolite of N-methylcarbazole predicted by a fungal cell model of mammalian metabolism.

PMID 1595089


The formation of N-hydroxymethylcarbazole (NHMC), carbazole, 1-hydroxy-N-methylcarbazole, 2-hydroxy-N-methylcarbazole, and 3-hydroxy-N-methylcarbazole as products of mammalian liver microsomal metabolism of N-methylcarbazole (NMC) has been documented by several investigators. In previous studies in our laboratory, the fungus Cunninghamella echinulata (ATCC 9244) produced two new metabolites, 3-hydroxy-N-hydroxymethylcarbazole (3-OH-NHMC), and 3-hydroxycarbazole (3-OH-carbazole), in addition to the known mammalian metabolites, NHMC and carbazole. One of the two novel metabolites isolated from the microbial models, 3-OH-NHMC, was also identified and characterized in rat liver microsomes by analytical (HPLC) and spectral (UV and NMR) comparisons with a reference standard. The two metabolites, 3-OH-NHMC and 3-OH-carbazole, were shown to be cytotoxic to cultured rat hepatocytes as assessed by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) leakage and neutral red (NR) uptake. These studies demonstrate the prospective potential of microbial models for predicting the formation of metabolites from drugs and other xenobiotics in mammalian systems.