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9.6 ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS
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Because light, temperature, and other in vitro effects on xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes are not different from their effects on other enzymes or enzyme systems,
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CHEMICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL INFLUENCES ON XENOBIOTIC METABOLISM
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we are not concerned with them at present. This section deals with the effects of environmental factors on the intact animal as they relate to in vivo metabolism of foreign compounds.
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Temperature. Although it might be expected that variations in ambient temperature would not affect the metabolism of xenobiotics in animals with homeothermic control, this is not the case. Temperature variations can be a form of stress and thereby produce changes mediated by hormonal interactions. Such effects of stress require an intact pituitary-adrenal axis and are eliminated by either hypothysectomy or adrenalectomy. There appear to be two basic types of temperature effects on toxicity: either an increase in toxicity at both high and low temperature or an increase in toxicity with an increase in temperature. For example, both warming and cooling increases the toxicity of caffeine to mice, whereas the toxicity of D-amphetamine is lower at reduced temperatures and shows a regular increase with increases in temperature. In many studies it is unclear whether the effects of temperature are mediated through metabolism of the toxicant or via some other physiological mechanism. In other cases, however, temperature clearly affects metabolism. For example, in cold-stressed rats there is an increase in the metabolism of 2-naphthylamine to 2-amino-1-naphthol. Ionizing Radiation. In general, ionizing radiation reduces the rate of metabolism of xenobiotics both in vivo and in enzyme preparations subsequently isolated. This has occurred in hydroxylation of steroids, in the development of desulfuration activity toward azinphosmethyl in young rats, and in glucuronide formation in mice. Pseudocholinesterase activity is reduced by ionizing radiation in the ileum of both rats and mice. Light. Because many enzymes, including some of those involved with xenobiotic metabolism, show a diurnal pattern that can be keyed to the light cycle, light cycles rather than light intensity would be expected to affect these enzymes. In the case of hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase in the pineal gland, there is a diurnal rhythm with greatest activity at night; continuous darkness causes maintenance of the high level. Cytochrome P450 and the microsomal monooxygenase system show a diurnal rhythm in both the rat and the mouse, with greatest activity occurring at the beginning of the dark phase. Moisture. No moisture effect has been shown in vertebrates, but in insects it was noted that house y larvae reared on diets containing 40% moisture had four times more activity for the epoxidation of heptachlor than did larvae reared in a similar medium saturated with water. Altitude. Altitude can either increase or decrease toxicity. It has been suggested that these effects are related to the metabolism of toxicants rather than to physiological mechanisms involving the receptor system, but in most examples this has not been demonstrated clearly. Examples of altitude effects include the observations that at altitudes of 5000 ft, the lethality of digitalis or strychnine to mice is decreased, whereas that of D-amphetamine is increased. Other Stress Factors. Noise has been shown to affect the rate of metabolism of 2napthylamine, causing a slight increase in the rat. This increase is additive with that caused by cold stress.
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SUGGESTED READING
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GENERAL SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
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It is apparent from the material presented in this chapter and the previous chapters related to metabolism that the metabolism of xenobiotics is complex, involving many enzymes; that it is susceptible to a large number of modifying factors, both physiological and exogenous; and that the toxicological implications of metabolism are important. Despite the complexity, summary statements of considerable importance can be abstracted:
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Phase I metabolism generally introduces a functional group into a xenobiotic, which enables conjugation to an endogenous metabolite to occur during phase II metabolism. The conjugates produced by phase II metabolism are considerably more water soluble than either the parent compound or the phase I metabolite(s) and hence are more excretable. During the course of metabolism, and particularly during phase I reactions, reactive intermediates that are much more toxic than the parent compound may be produced. Thus xenobiotic metabolism may be either a detoxication or an activation process. Because the number of enzymes involved in phase I and phase II reactions is large and many different sites on organic molecules are susceptible to metabolic attack, the number of potential metabolites and intermediates that can be derived from a single substrate is frequently very large. Because both qualitative and quantitative differences exist among species, strains, individual organs, and cell types, a particular toxicant may have different effects in different circumstances. Because exogenous chemicals can be inducers and/or inhibitors of the xenobioticmetabolizing enzymes of which they are substrates; such chemicals may interact to bring about toxic sequelae different from those that might be expected from any of them administered alone. Because endogenous factors also affect the enzymes of xenobiotic metabolism, the toxic sequelae to be expected from a particular toxicant will vary with developmental stage, nutritional statue, health or physiological status, stress or environment. It has become increasingly clear that most enzymes involved in xenobiotic metabolism occur as several isozymes, which coexist within the same individual and, frequently, within the same subcellular organelle. An understanding of the biochemistry and molecular genetics of these isozymes may lead to an understanding of the variation among species, individuals, organs, sexes, developmental stages, and so on.
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