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GC-MS metabolomics reveals disturbed metabolic pathways in primary mouse hepatocytes exposed to subtoxic levels of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamin…

A new interesting article has been published in Arch Toxicol. 2018 Sep 25. doi: 10.1007/s00204-018-2314-9. and titled:

GC-MS metabolomics reveals disturbed metabolic pathways in primary mouse hepatocytes exposed to subtoxic levels of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamin…

Authors of this article are:
Araújo AM Bastos ML Fernandes E Carvalho F Carvalho M Guedes de Pinho P.

A summary of the article is shown below:
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) is a well-known hepatotoxic drug. Although its toxicity has been thoroughly studied at high concentrations, there is still insufficient knowledge on possible alterations of cell function at subtoxic concentrations, which are in fact more representative concentrations of intoxication scenarios. In this study, a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) metabolomics approach was used to investigate the metabolic changes in primary mouse hepatocytes (PMH) exposed to two subtoxic concentrations of MDMA (LC01 and LC10) for 24 h. Metabolomic profiling of both intracellular metabolites and volatile metabolites in the extracellular medium of PMH was performed. Multivariate analysis showed that the metabolic pattern of cells exposed to MDMA discriminates from the controls in a concentration-dependent manner. Exposure to LC10 MDMA induces a significant increase in some intracellular metabolites, including oleic acid and palmitic acid, and a decrease in glutamate, aspartate, 5-oxoproline, fumarate, malate, phosphoric acid, α-ketoglutarate and citrate. Extracellular metabolites such as acetophenone, formaldehyde, pivalic acid, glyoxal and 2-butanone were found significantly increased after exposure to MDMA, compared to controls, whereas 4-methylheptane, 2,4-dimethyl-1-heptene, nonanal, among others, were found significantly decreased. The panel of discriminatory metabolites is mainly involved in tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, fatty acid metabolism, glutamate metabolism, antioxidant defenses and possibly changes in the liver enzyme machinery. Overall, these results highlight the potential of the intra- and extracellular metabolome to study alterations triggered by subtoxic concentrations of MDMA in hepatic cell functions, which represents a more realistic appraisal of early toxicity events posed by exposure to this drug. In addition, these results also revealed some metabolites that may be used as potential biomarkers indicative of early events in the hepatotoxicity induced by MDMA.

Check out the article’s website on Pubmed for more information:



This article is a good source of information and a good way to become familiar with topics such as: Hepatotoxicity;MDMA;Metabolomics;Primary mouse hepatocytes;Subtoxic concentrations.

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