The metabolism and toxicity of furosemide in the Wistar rat and CD-1 mouse: a chemical and biochemical definition of the toxicophore

Dominic P. Williams*, Daniel J. Antoine, Philip J. Butler, Russell Jones, Laura Randle, Anthony Payne, Martin Howard, Iain Gardner, Julian Blagg, B. Kevin Park

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Furosemide, a loop diuretic, causes hepatic necrosis in mice. Previous evidence suggested hepatotoxicity arises from metabolic bioactivation to a chemically reactive metabolite that binds to hepatic proteins. To define the nature of the toxic metabolite, we examined the relationship between furosemide metabolism in CD-1 mice and Wistar rats. Furosemide (1.21 mmol/kg) was shown to cause toxicity in mice, but not rats, at 24 h, without resulting in glutathione depletion. In vivo covalent binding to hepatic protein was 6- fold higher in the mouse (1.57 +/- 0.98 nmol equivalent bound/mg protein) than rat (0.26 +/- 0.13 nmol equivalent bound/mg protein). In vivo covalent binding to mouse hepatic protein was reduced 14- fold by a predose of the cytochrome P450 (P450) inhibitor, 1-aminobenzotriazole (ABT; 0.11 +/- 0.04 nmol equivalent bound/ mg protein), which also reduced hepatotoxicity. Administration of [14C] furosemide to bile duct-cannulated rats demonstrated turnover to glutathione conjugate (8.8 +/- 2.8%), gamma-ketocarboxylic acid metabolite ( 22.1 +/- 3.3%), N-dealkylated metabolite (21.1 +/- 2.9%), and furosemide glucuronide (12.8 +/- 1.8%). Furosemide-glutathione conjugate was not observed in bile from mice dosed with [C-14] furosemide. The novel gamma-ketocarboxylic acid, identified by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, indicates bioactivation of the furan ring. Formation of gamma-ketocarboxylic acid was P450-dependent. In mouse liver microsomes, a gamma-ketoenal furosemide metabolite was trapped, forming an N-acetylcysteine/N-acetyl lysine furosemide adduct. Furosemide (1 mM, 6 h) became irreversibly bound to primary mouse and rat hepatocytes, 0.73 +/- 0.1 and 2.44 +/- 0.3 nmol equivalent bound/ mg protein, respectively, which was significantly reduced in the presence of ABT, 0.11 +/- 0.03 and 0.21 +/- 0.1 nmol equivalent bound/ mg protein, respectively. Furan rings are part of new chemical entities, and mechanisms underlying species differences in toxicity are important to understand to decrease the drug attrition rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1208-1220
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007




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