Ascorbic acid inhibits chemically induced uroporphyria in ascorbate-requiring rats

Authors

  • Peter R. Sinclair,

    1. Veterans Administration Medical Center, White River Junction, VT
    2. Department of Biochemistry, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH
    3. Department of Pharmacology/Toxicology, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH
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  • Nadia Gorman,

    1. Veterans Administration Medical Center, White River Junction, VT
    2. Department of Biochemistry, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH
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  • Jacqueline F. Sinclair PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Veterans Administration Medical Center, White River Junction, VT
    2. Department of Biochemistry, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH
    3. Department of Pharmacology/Toxicology, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH
    • Veterans Administration Medical Center (151), White River Junction, VT 05009
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  • Heidi S. Walton,

    1. Veterans Administration Medical Center, White River Junction, VT
    2. Department of Biochemistry, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH
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  • William J. Bement,

    1. Veterans Administration Medical Center, White River Junction, VT
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  • Richard W. Lambrecht

    1. Division of Digestive Disease and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, MA
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Abstract

Ascorbate was previously shown to suppress accumulation of uroporphyrin (URO) in cultured chick embryo hepatocytes and to competitively inhibit microsomal oxidation of uroporphyrinogen catalyzed by cytochrome P4501A2. Here we used the Osteogenic Disorder Shionogi (ODS) mutant rat, which cannot synthesize ascorbic acid, to examine the in vivo effect of ascorbic acid on hepatic URO accumulation caused by treatment with 3-methylcholanthrene (MC) and 5-aminolevulinate (ALA). Female mutant rats maintained on three levels of dietary ascorbate (15,200, and 800 ppm) were treated for a total of 24 days. On the 11th and 16th days, rats were administered 3-methylcholanthrene, and 5-aminolevulinate was present continuously in the drinking water from day 14. Hepatic URO accumulated at the two lowest ascorbate levels, but not at 800 ppm ascorbate. The latter dose produced normal hepatic ascorbate levels. Plasma ascorbate levels were proportional to the hepatic values. Male rats also accumulated URO at the low dietary dose of ascorbic acid. The methylcholan-threne-induced increase in microsomal levels of CYP1A1 and CYP1A2, total cytochrome P450, and activities of uroporphyrinogen oxidation and ethoxyresorufin deethylase were not affected by the dietary level of ascorbate. Neither male nor female Fischer 344 rats accumulated URO when treated with the MC/ALA regime. Hepatic ascorbate concentrations in these rats were five-fold to seven-fold higher than they were in mutant rats that developed uroporphyria on 150 ppm dietary ascorbate. In ODS rats fed ascorbate at 90 but not 900 ppm in the diet, hexachlorobenzene caused hepatic URO accumulation, indicating that the effect of ascorbic acid is not unique to the regimen using methylcholanthrene. These results are consistent with a role for ascorbate in preventing chemically induced URO accumulation and suggest that ascorbate might have a role in preventing URO accumulation in humans. (Hepatology 1995; 22:565–572.)

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