1. The purpose of the present study was to test the following hypothesis: propylthiouracil (PTU) treatments of rats induces an increase in the concentration and activity of the mitochondrial ATPase (m-ATPase) inhibitor protein (IF1). The PTU-induced elevated baseline levels of this inhibitor protein inactivated m-ATPase, and prevented hepatotoxicity by a toxic dose of acetaminophen (AAP) (paracetamol), by maintaining hepatic adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) levels. 2. Male Wistar rats were either gavaged with a toxic dose of AAP alone, or after pretreatment with PTU for periods of 3 and 12 days. 3. Twenty four hours after acetaminophen treatment alone, toxicity was manifested by: an approximately 10 fold increase in serum transaminase levels (serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase and serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase); depletion of hepatic reduced glutathione (GSH) and ATP levels; loss of inhibitor protein activity, and extensive pericentral necrosis of the hepatocytes. Propylthiouracil pretreatment for 12 days enhanced the concentration of the following metabolites in the liver: ATP (1.5 fold), ATPase inhibitor protein (IF1) (4.5 fold), and reduced glutathione (1.3 fold), while the activity of the inhibitor protein increased 2 fold. When the PTU treated rats were challenged with AAP, transaminases were not elevated, and only sporadic areas of necrosis were detected by histological examination of the liver tissue. In contrast to the 12 day treatment with PTU the 3 day treatment had no protection against AAP. No histological evidence of protection was manifested and the transaminases were not different from AAP treated controls. Most of the protective metabolites were depleted. 4. Our findings suggest that PTU-induced increased concentration of inhibitor protein and GSH, are contributing factors in the prevention of hepatotoxicity by maintaining hepatic m-ATP levels and reducing the harmful effect of the toxic metabolite of AAP.
- ATPase inhibitor protein
- Paracetamol (acetaminophen) intoxication
- Reduced glutathione
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