Journal of pharmaceutical sciences

Metabolic bioactivation and toxicity of ethyl 4-hydroxybenzoate in human SK-MEL-28 melanoma cells.

PMID 17847068


The metabolism and toxicity of ethyl 4-hydroxybenzoate (4-HEB) were investigated in vitro using tyrosinase enzyme, a melanoma molecular target, and CYP2E1 induced rat liver microsomes, and in human SK-MEL-28 melanoma cells. The results were compared to 4-hydroxyanisole (4-HA). At 90 min, 4-HEB was metabolized 48% by tyrosinase and 26% by liver microsomes while the extent of 4-HA metabolism was 196% and 88%, respectively. The IC50 (day 2) of 4-HEB and 4-HA towards SK-MEL-28 cells were 75 and 50 microM, respectively. Dicoumarol, a diaphorase inhibitor, and 1-bromoheptane, a GSH depleting agent, increased 4-HEB toxicity towards SK-MEL-28 cells indicating o-quinone formation played an important role in 4-HEB induced cell toxicity. Addition of ascorbic acid and GSH to the media was effective in preventing 4-HEB cell toxicity. Cyclosporin A and trifluoperazine, inhibitors of permeability transition pore in mitochondria, were significantly potent in inhibiting 4-HEB cell toxicity. 4-HEB caused time-dependent decline in intracellular GSH concentration which preceded cell death. 4-HEB also led to reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in melanoma cells which exacerbated by dicoumarol and 1-bromoheptane whereas cyclosporin A and trifluoperazine prevented it. Our findings suggest that the mechanisms of 4-HEB toxicity in SK-MEL-28 were o-quinone formation, intracellular GSH depletion, ROS formation and mitochondrial toxicity.