Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous and often carcinogenic contaminants released into the environment during natural and anthropogenic combustion processes. Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) is the prototypical carcinogenic PAH, and dibenzo[def,p]chrysene (DBC) is a less prevalent, but highly potent transplacental carcinogenic PAH. Both are metabolically activated by isoforms of the cytochrome P450 enzyme superfamily to form reactive carcinogenic and cytotoxic metabolites. Metabolism of B[a]P and DBC was studied in hepatic microsomes of male Sprague-Dawley rats, naïve and pregnant female B6129SF1/J mice, and female humans, corresponding to available pharmacokinetic data. Michaelis-Menten saturation kinetic parameters including maximum rates of metabolism (VMAX, nmol/min/mg microsomal protein), affinity constants (KM, μM), and rates of intrinsic clearance (CLINT, ml/min/kg body weight) were calculated from substrate depletion data. CLINT was also estimated from substrate depletion data using the alternative in vitro half-life method. VMAX and CLINT were higher for B[a]P than DBC, regardless of species. Clearance for both B[a]P and DBC was highest in naïve female mice and lowest in female humans. Clearance rates of B[a]P and DBC in male rat were more similar to female human than to female mice. Clearance of DBC in liver microsomes from pregnant mice was reduced compared to naïve mice, consistent with reduced active P450 protein levels and elevated tissue concentrations and residence times for DBC observed in previous in vivo pharmacokinetic studies. These findings suggest that rats are a more appropriate model organism for human PAH metabolism, and that pregnancy's effects on metabolism should be further explored.
Keywords: Benzo[a]pyrene; Dibenzo[def,p]chrysene; Intrinsic clearance; K(M); Michaelis–Menten; V(MAX).
Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.