Biochemical pharmacology

Metabolic activation of n-butyraldoxime by rat liver microsomal cytochrome P450. A requirement for the inhibition of aldehyde dehydrogenase.

PMID 8347123


n-Butyraldoxime (n-BO) is known to cause a disulfiram/ethanol-like reaction in humans, a manifestation of the inhibition of hepatic aldehyde dehydrogenase (AIDH). As with a number of other in vivo inhibitors of AIDH, n-BO does not inhibit purified AIDH in vitro, suggesting that a metabolite of n-BO is the actual inhibitor of this enzyme. In re-examination of the effect of n-BO on blood acetaldehyde levels following ethanol in the Sprague-Dawley rat, we found that pretreatment with substrates and/or inhibitors of cytochrome P450 blocked the n-BO-induced rise in blood acetaldehyde in the following order of decreasing potency: 1-benzylimidazole (0.1 mmol/kg) > 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole (1.0 g/kg) > ethanol (3.0 g/kg) > phenobarbital (0.1% in the drinking water, 7 days) > SKF-525A (40 mg/kg). Rat liver microsomes were shown to catalyze the conversion of n-BO to an active metabolite that inhibited yeast AIDH. This reaction was dependent on NADPH and molecular oxygen and was inhibited by CO and 1-benzylimidazole. Hydroxylamine, postulated by others to be a metabolite of n-BO, inhibited AIDH via a catalase-mediated reaction and not through an NADPH-supported microsome-catalyzed reaction. Using GLC-mass spectrometry, 1-nitrobutane (an N-oxidation product) and butyronitrile (a dehydration product) were identified as metabolites from microsomal incubations of n-BO. However, neither of these metabolic products inhibited AIDH directly or in the presence of liver microsomes and NADPH. We conclude that another NADPH-dependent, cytochrome P450-catalyzed metabolic product of n-BO is responsible for the inhibition of AIDH by n-BO.