The monoethylglycinexylidide test does not correctly evaluate lidocaine metabolism after ischemic liver injury in the rat



Although the monoethylglycinexylidide (MEGX) test defined as a single determination of MEGX plasma concentration after lidocaine injection has been proposed as a liver function test, some discrepancies appeared in assessing the quality of liver donor for transplantation as well as the severity of liver disease. The present study used a severe ischemia- reperfusion liver injury (IRI) in rat to evaluate the various factors able to influence the level of MEGX. The metabolism of lidocaine was studied on microsomes isolated from intact rats and from rats submitted to this liver injury. A significant reduction of the various pathways transforming lidocaine but also MEGX was demonstrated. Lidocaine inhibited the MEGX transformation both in intact and injured liver microsomes. In vivo, plasma MEGX concentrations, determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), were lower in IRI than in controls up to 80 minutes after lidocaine injection but not later. By contrast, using the usual commercial fluorescence polarization immunoassay (FPIA), MEGX concentrations were paradoxically higher in IRI than in controls. Moreover, MEGX values obtained using FPIA were threefold higher in controls and ninefold higher in IRI than with HPLC. It was shown that these differences were related to the detection by FPIA of free and mainly of conjugated hydroxy-MEGX that accumulated in plasma from rats submitted to an IRI. These data emphasize the complexity of factors influencing the appearance and disappearance of MEGX because of delayed MEGX formation with liver injury but also to inhibition of its further metabolization. The choice of the sampling time for MEGX determination is critical and has to be optimized in every type of liver injury. Moreover, a specific technique, such as HPLC, will avoid cross-reactivity with other metabolites, which may be particularly abundant when the biliary excretion is impaired.