Wheelock, C E, et al., Effects of Pyridine Exposure Upon Structural Lipid Metabolism in Swiss Webster Mice. Chem Res Toxicol, 2008. 21(3): 583-90.


Pyridine is a prototypical inducer of cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2E1, an enzyme associated with cellular oxidative stress and membrane damage. To better understand the effect of this treatment on cellular lipids, the influence of pyridine exposure (100 mg/kg/day i.p. for 5 days) on fatty acids, fatty esters, and fatty alcohol ethers in brain, heart, liver, and adipose tissue from male Swiss Webster mice was investigated. Lipid levels in cholesterol esters, triglycerides, free fatty acids, cardiolipin, sphingomyelin, and glycerylphospholipids were quantified. Pyridine altered the level and composition of lipids involved in membrane structure (i.e., sphingomyelin, phosphatidylethanolamines, and plasmalogens), energy metabolism (i.e., free fatty acids), and long-chain fatty acid transport (i.e., cholesterol esters) in a tissue-specific manner. Subtle changes in cholesterol esters were observed in all tissues. Sphingomyelin in the brain and heart were depleted in monounsaturated fatty acids (1.4- and 1.5-fold, respectively), while the liver sphingomyelin concentrations increased (1.5-fold). Pyridine exposure also increased heart free fatty acids by 1.3-fold, enriched cardiac phosphatidylethanolamine in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids by 1.3-fold, and depleted cardiolipin-associated plasmalogens by 3.8-fold. Phosphatidylethanolamines in the brain were also enriched in both saturated fatty acids (1.2-fold) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (1.3-fold) but were depleted in plasmalogens (2.9-fold). In particular, the levels of phosphatidylethanolamine-associated arachidonic (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in both brain and cardiac tissues significantly decreased following pyridine exposure. Considering the hypothetical role of plasmalogens as membrane-bound reactive oxygen scavengers, the current findings suggest that the brain and heart should be the focus of future studies on the toxicity of pyridine, as well as other CYP 2E1 inducers.

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