The antithyroid drug methimazole (MMZ) can cause severe, tissue-specific toxicity in mouse olfactory mucosa (OM), presumably through a sequential metabolic activation of MMZ by cytochrome P450 (P450) and flavin monooxygenases (FMO). The aims of this study were to determine whether CYP2A5, one of the most abundant P450 enzymes in the mouse OM, is involved in MMZ metabolic activation, by comparing Cyp2a5-null with wild-type (WT) mice, and whether hepatic microsomal P450 enzymes, including CYP2A5, are essential for MMZ-induced OM toxicity, by comparing liver-Cpr-null (LCN) mice, which have little P450 activity in hepatocytes, with WT mice. We showed that the loss of CYP2A5 expression did not alter systemic clearance of MMZ (at 50 mg/kg, i.p.); but it did significantly decrease the rates of MMZ metabolism in the OM, whereas FMO expression in the OM was not reduced. MMZ induced depletion of nonprotein thiols, as well as pathological changes, in the OM of WT mice; the extent of these changes was much reduced in the Cyp2a5-null mice. Thus, CYP2A5 plays an important role in mediating MMZ toxicity in the OM. In contrast, the rate of systemic clearance of MMZ was significantly reduced in the LCN mice, compared to WT mice, whereas the MMZ-induced OM toxicity was not prevented. Therefore, hepatic P450 enzymes are essential for systemic MMZ clearance, but they are not required for MMZ-induced OM toxicity. We conclude that the tissue-specific toxicity of MMZ is mediated by target tissue metabolic activation, and the reaction is partly catalyzed by CYP2A5 in the OM.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmaceutical Science