Male mice were treated (i.p.) for 3 days with 15 different environmentally encountered epoxides, and the effects of these compounds on liver microsomal and cytosolic epoxide hydrolase (mEH and cEH), glutathione S-transferase (mGST and cGST) and carboxylesterase (mCE) activities were determined. The epoxides included the pesticides: heptachlor epoxide, dieldrin, tridiphane, and juvenoid R-20458; the natural products: disparlure, limonin, nomilin, and epoxymethyloleate; the endogenous steroids: lanosterol epoxide, cholesterol-α-epoxide, and progesterone epoxide; and the industrial or synthetic epoxides: epichlorohydrin, araldite, trans-stilbene oxide, and 4'-phenylchalcone oxide. The pesticide epoxides were the most effective inducers of liver weight, microsomal protein, and the enzyme activities measured, with mEH and cEH activities towards cis-stilbene oxide (mEHcso and cEHcso), cGST activities towards four of five substrates, and mCE towards clofibrate (mCEclof) and p-nitrophenylacetate (mCEpna) increased following treatment with most of the pesticides. The synthetic epoxides increased some of the same activities, while the natural products, except for increases in cGST activities, and endogenous steroid epoxides were generally not inductive. cEH activity towards trans-stilbene oxide (cEHtso) was increased only following treatment with the peroxisome proliferator, tridiphane, but decreased following treatment with several of the epoxides, while microsomal cholesterol epoxide hydrolase (mEHchol) was increased only moderately by disparlure. Microsomes could effectively conjugate glutathione to chlorodinitrobenzene (mGSTcdnb) and cis-stilbene oxide (mGSTcso). These two activities were differentially induced by a few of the epoxides, suggesting that they may be selective substrates for different isozymes of mGST. Correlation coefficients were determined for the relative response of liver weight, subfraction protein, and enzyme activities. A relatively high correlation was found between the response of liver weight and cytosolic hydrolysis of trans-stilbene oxide (r = 0.73) and cis-stilbene oxide (r = 0.62), and cytosolic glutathione conjugation of dichloronitrobenzene (r = 0.66) and trans-stilbene oxide (r = 0.75). In addition, relatively high correlations were found between the different cGST activities, in particular for dichloronitrobenzene with trans-stilbene oxide (r = 0.89). These studies show that there exists a wide variation in the response of xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes to environmentally encountered epoxides and that a fairly strong correlation exists between the increases in liver size and increases in certain cytosolic enzyme activities; they also suggest further studies concerning the possibility of an additional isozyme of mGST.
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