Halothane causes a mild form of liver injury in guinea pigs that appears to model the hepatotoxicity seen in approximately 20% of patients treated with this drug. In previous studies, it was concluded that the increased susceptibility of some outbred guinea pigs to halothane-induced liver injury is not caused by their inherent ability to metabolize halothane to form toxic levels of trifluoroacetylated protein adducts in the liver. In this study, we reevaluated the role of trifluoroacetylated protein adducts in halothane-induced liver injury in guinea pigs. Male outbred Hartley guinea pigs were treated with halothane intraperitoneally. On the basis of serum alanine aminotransferase levels and liver histology, treated animals were designated as being susceptible, mildly susceptible, or resistant to halothane. Immunoblot studies with the use of anti-trifluoroacetylated antibodies showed that susceptible guinea pigs for the most part had higher levels of trifluoroacetylated protein adducts in the liver 48 h after treatment with halothane than did less susceptible animals. In support of this finding, the level of trifluoroacetylated protein adducts detected immunochemically in the sera of treated guinea pigs correlated with sera levels of alanine aminotransferase activity. In addition, the levels of cytochrome P450 2A-related protein but not those of other cytochrome P450 isoforms, measured by immunoblot analysis with isoform-specific antibodies, correlated with the amount of trifluoroacetylated protein adducts detected in the livers of guinea pigs 8 h after halothane administration. The results of this study indicate that the susceptibility of outbred guinea pigs to halothane-induced liver injury is related to an enhanced ability to metabolize halothane in the liver to form relatively high levels of trifluoroacetylated protein adducts. They also suggest that cytochrome P450 2A-related protein might have a major role in catalyzing the formation of trifluoroacetylated protein adducts in the liver of susceptible guinea pigs. Similar mechanisms may be important in humans.
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