Monoepoxides of linoleic acid (leukotoxin and isoleukotoxin) have been associated with a variety of pathophysiological diseases in humans including multiple organ failure. They also have been shown to be toxic when injected into experimental animals. Because leukotoxin and isoleukotoxin are excellent substrates for epoxide hydrolases, we tested the hypothesis that the diol metabolites are less toxic than the parent monoepoxides using the rabbit renal proximal tubule (RPT) suspension model. An equimolar mixture of the positional isomers of the methyl esters of leukotoxin and isoleukotoxin did not cause cell death to RPT cells at concentrations up to 1 mM using lactate dehydrogenase release as the endpoint. The corresponding diols, however, caused cell death in a time- and concentration dependent manner beginning at 4 hr and reaching 42% cell death in 6 hr at 1 mM. Cell death was not due to oxidative stress since malondialdehyde content did not increase and the iron chelator deferoxamine and the antioxidant N,N'-diphenyl-1,4-phenylenediamine were not cytoprotective. In contrast, cell death was associated with mitochondrial dysfunction with respiration decreasing 54% prior to the onset of cell death. Secondary to the mitochondrial dysfunction, the diols completely inhibited active Na+ transport within 30 min of addition. These results suggest that the in vivo toxicity and pathophysiology previously attributed to the monoepoxides of linoleic acid may be due to the diol metabolites.
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