The metabolism, hepatotoxicity, and hepatic DNA damage of 1,2-dibromoethane (EDB) and tetradeutero-1,2-dibromoethane (d4EDB) were compared in male Swiss-Webster mice. In vitro studies that measured bromide ion released from the substrate to monitor the rate of metabolism showed that the hepatic microsomal metabolism of EDB was significantly reduced by deuterium substitution, while metabolism by the hepatic glutathione S-transferases was unaffected. Three hours after ip administration of EDB or d4EDB (50 mg/kg), there was 42% less bromide in the plasma of d4EDB-treated mice than in the plasm of EDB-treated mice. This difference demonstrates a significant deuterium isotope effect on the metabolism of EDB in vivo. Although the metabolism of d4EDB was less than that of EDB 3 hr after exposure, the DNA damage caused by both analogs was not significantly different at this time point. At later time points (8, 24, and 72 hr), d4EDB caused significantly greater DNA damage than EDB. Since the decreased metabolism of d4EDB was apparently due to a reduced rate of microsomal oxidation, these data support the hypothesis that conjugation with GSH is responsible for the genotoxic effects of EDB.
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