Weanling male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed either a nutritionally complete synthetic diet (Diet 1) or a diet marginally deficient in choline and methionine, and lacking folacin (lipotrope deficient, Diet 2) to determine the role of hepatic mixed-function oxidase metabolism of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) in the Diet 2-induced enhancement of AFB1 hepatocarcinogenesis previously reported. Hepatic microsomal mixed-function oxidase activities, as assayed by ethylmorphine N-demethylation, ethoxycoumarin O-dealkylation, cytochrome c reduction, AFB1 metabolism, and cytochrome P-450 content, were all depressed by Diet 2. Furthermore, the proportion of an i.p. dose of AFB1 (1 mg/kg) that became covalently bonded to DNA and RNA was similarly reduced when measured 6 hr after administration. The formation of AFB1-protein adducts was not influenced by dietary treatment. The depression of DNA and RNA adduct formation in the Diet 2 animals was probably related to the lower mixed-function oxidase activities and not to an alteration of glutathione levels, which remained unchanged by dietary treatment. These results suggest that the marginally lipotrope-deficient diet does not enhance tumor formation through an increased microsomal activation of AFB1. Alternative hypotheses without data are suggested.


Supported by USPHS Grant RO1 CA 20079, the Hoffmann LaRoche Research Foundation, and the Durotest Corporation.

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