Inhibition of glutathione S-transferase zeta and tyrosine metabolism by dichloroacetate: a potential unifying mechanism for its altered biotransformation and toxicity

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 Sep 7;262(3):752-6. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.1999.1287.


Dichloroacetate (DCA) inhibits its own metabolism and is converted to glyoxylate by glutathione S-transferase zeta (GSTz). GSTz is identical to maleylacetoacetate isomerase, an enzyme of tyrosine catabolism that converts maleylacetoacetate (MAA) to fumarylacetoacetate and maleylacetone (MA) to fumarylacetone. MAA and MA are alkylating agents. Rats treated with DCA for up to five days had markedly decreased hepatic GSTz activity and increased urinary excretion of MA. When dialyzed cytosol obtained from human liver was incubated with DCA, GSTz activity was unaffected. In contrast, DCA incubation inhibited enzyme activity in dialyzed hepatic cytosol from rats. Incubation of either rat or human hepatic cytosol with MA led to a dose dependent inhibition of GSTz. These data indicate that humans or rodents exposed to DCA may accumulate MA and/or MAA which inhibit(s) GSTz and, consequently, DCA biotransformation. Moreover, DCA-induced inhibition of tyrosine catabolism may account for the toxicity of this xenobiotic in humans and other species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biotransformation
  • Cytosol / enzymology
  • Dichloroacetic Acid / pharmacokinetics*
  • Dichloroacetic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Dichloroacetic Acid / toxicity
  • Feedback
  • Glutathione Transferase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Glyoxylates / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Maleates / pharmacokinetics
  • Maleates / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Tyrosine / metabolism*


  • Glyoxylates
  • Isoenzymes
  • Maleates
  • Tyrosine
  • Dichloroacetic Acid
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • glyoxylic acid