Chemical research in toxicology

Biotransformation of 2,2',5,5'-tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB 52) and 3,3',4,4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB 77) by liver microsomes from four species of sea turtles.

PMID 21480586


The rates of oxidative metabolism of two tetrachlorobiphenyl congeners were determined in hepatic microsomes from four species of sea turtles, green (Chelonia mydas), olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata). Hydroxylation of 3,3',4,4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB 77), an ortho-meta unsubstituted rodent cytochrome P450 (P450) 1A substrate PCB, was not observed in sea turtle microsomes. Sea turtle microsomes hydroxylated 2,2',5,5'-tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB 52), a meta-para unsubstituted rodent P450 family 2 substrate PCB, at rates ranging from less than 0.5 to 53 pmol/min/mg protein. The P450 inhibitor ketoconazole inhibited hydroxylation of PCB 52, supporting the role of P450 catalysis. Sea turtle PCB 52 hydroxlyation rates strongly correlated with immunodetected P450 family 2-like and less so with P450 family 3-like hepatic proteins. Testosterone 6β-, 16α-, 16β-hydroxylase activities were also significantly correlated with the expression of these enzymes, indicating that P450 family 2 or P450 family 3 proteins are responsible for PCB hydroxylation in sea turtles. This study indicated species-specific PCB biotransformation in sea turtles and preferential elimination of meta-para unsubstituted PCB congeners over ortho-meta unsubstituted PCB congeners consistent with PCB accumulation patterns observed in tissues of sea turtles.