Glucuronidation of the oxidative cytochrome P450-mediated phenolic metabolites of the endocrine disruptor pesticide: methoxychlor by human hepatic UDP-glucuronosyl transferases

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

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Blotting, Western; Chromatography, Liquid; Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System; Glucuronosyltransferase; Humans; Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated; Insecticides; Mass Spectrometry; Methoxychlor; Microsomes, Liver; Oxidation-Reduction; Phenols; Stereoisomerism; Time Factors


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Methoxychlor, a currently used pesticide, is a proestrogen exhibiting estrogenic activity in mammals in vivo. Methoxychlor undergoes oxidative metabolism by cytochromes P450, yielding 1,1,1-trichloro-2-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-(4-methoxyphenyl)ethane (mono-OH-M) and 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)ethane (bis-OH-M) as main metabolites. Since humans may be exposed to these estrogenic metabolites, which are potential substrates of UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs), their glucuronide conjugation was investigated with human liver preparations and individual UGTs. Incubation of both mono-OH-M and bis-OH-M with human liver microsomes formed monoglucuronides. The structures of the glucuronides were identified by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectometry. Examination of cDNA-expressed recombinant human hepatic UGTs revealed that several catalyze glucuronidation of both compounds. Among the cDNA-expressed UGT1A enzymes, UGT1A9 seemed to be the main catalyst of formation of mono-OH-M-glucuronide, whereas UGT1A3 seemed to be the most active in bis-OH-M-glucuronide formation. Furthermore, the chiral selectivity of mono-OH-M glucuronidation was examined. The results of the incubation of single enantiomers generally agreed with the chiral analyses of mono-OH-M derived from the glucuronidase digestion of the glucuronides of the racemic mono-OH-M. There was a relatively slight but consistent enantioselective preference of individual UGT1A1, UGT1A3, UGT1A9, and UGT2B15 enzymes for glucuronidation of the S- over the R-mono-OH-M, whereas in human liver microsomes differences were observed among donors in generating the respective R/S-mono-OH-M ratio. Since it was previously shown that human liver microsomes demethylate methoxychlor mainly into S-mono-OH-M, the observation that UGT1A isoforms preferentially glucuronidate the S-mono-OH-M suggests a suitable mechanism for eliminating this major enantiomer. This enantiomeric preference, however, is not extended to all samples of human liver microsomes that we tested.


Drug Metab Dispos. 2004 Jul;32(7):742-51.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals

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