Induction of glucose production by heterocyclic amines is dependent on N-acetyltransferase 2 genetic polymorphism in cryopreserved human hepatocytes

Toxicol Lett. 2023 Jul 1:383:192-195. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2023.07.002. Epub 2023 Jul 7.


Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are mutagenic compounds found in cooked meat. Recent epidemiological studies reported significant associations between dietary HCA exposure and insulin resistance and type II diabetes, and we recently reported that HCAs induce insulin resistance and glucose production in human hepatocytes. It is well known that HCAs require hepatic bioactivation by cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) and N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2). NAT2 expresses a well-defined genetic polymorphism in humans that, depending on the combination of NAT2 alleles, correlates to rapid, intermediate, or slow acetylator phenotype that exhibits differential metabolism of aromatic amines and HCAs. No previous studies have examined the role of NAT2 genetic polymorphism in the context of HCA-mediated induction of glucose production. In the present study, we assessed the effect of three HCAs commonly found in cooked meat (2-amino-3,4-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline [MeIQ], 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline [MeIQx], and 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine [PhIP]) on glucose production in cryopreserved human hepatocytes with slow, intermediate, or rapid NAT2 acetylator phenotype. HCA treatment did not affect glucose production in slow NAT2 acetylator hepatocytes, while a slight increase in glucose production was observed in intermediate NAT2 acetylators treated with MeIQ or MeIQx. However, significant increases in glucose production were observed in rapid NAT2 acetylators following each HCA. The current findings suggest that individuals who are rapid NAT2 acetylators may be at a greater risk of developing hyperglycemia and insulin resistance following dietary exposure to HCAs.

Keywords: Glucose production; Heterocyclic amines; Human hepatocytes; Hyperglycemia; Insulin resistance; NAT2 acetylator phenotype.

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / genetics
  • Acetyltransferases / metabolism
  • Amines* / metabolism
  • Amines* / toxicity
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase* / genetics
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase* / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Heterocyclic Compounds* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic


  • Acetyltransferases
  • Amines
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase
  • Glucose
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • NAT2 protein, human