A systematic study on the effects of diuron on the hepatic metabolism was conducted with emphasis on parameters linked to energy metabolism. The experimental system was the isolated perfused rat liver. The results demonstrate that diuron inhibited biosynthesis (gluconeogenesis) and ammonia detoxification, which are dependent of ATP generated within the mitochondria. Conversely, it stimulated glycolysis and fructolysis, which are compensatory phenomena for an inhibited mitochondrial ATP generation. Furthermore, diuron diminished the cellular ATP content under conditions where the mitochondrial respiratory chain was the only source of this compound. Besides the lack of circulating glucose due to gluconeogenesis inhibition, one can expect metabolic acidosis due to excess lactate production, impairment of ammonia detoxification and cell damage due to a deficient maintenance of its homeostasis. Some of the general signs of toxicity that were observed in diuron-treated rats can be attributed, partly at least, to the effects of the herbicide on energy metabolism.
Keywords: Energy metabolism; Herbicides; Liver toxicity; Phosphorylation.
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