4-Ipomeanol (IPO) is an investigational chemotherapeutic drug with specific toxicity toward the lung. It is metabolically activated to reactive intermediates by cytochrome P450 enzymes present in Clara cells. 4-(Methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) is a highly carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamine with organospecificity for the lung. Like IPO, which it resembles structurally, it is metabolically activated by cytochrome P450 enzymes of rat Clara cells. We synthesized nontoxic analogues of IPO and tested their activities as inhibitors of the metabolism and tumorigenicity of NNK. The IPO analogues synthesized were 4-hydroxy-1-phenyl-1-pentanone (HPP), 7-hydroxy-1-phenyl-1-octanone (HPO), 4-hydroxy-1-(2-thienyl)-1-pentanone (HTP), and 4-hydroxy-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-pentanone (HPYP). When added to A/J mouse lung microsomal incubations, all compounds significantly inhibited the oxidative pathways of NNK metabolism—α-hydroxylation and pyridine N-oxidation—to varying extents. Inhibition of carbonyl reduction of NNK was generally less effective. Inhibition of α-hydroxylation by IPO, HPP, and HTP was more pronounced in incubations with lung microsomes than with liver microsomes. None of the IPO analogues showed significant toxicity when given to A/J mice at a dose of 25 μmol; IPO itself was lethal at this dose. HPP and HPO, at doses of 25 μmol, significantly inhibited lung tumor multiplicity in mice treated with NNK; the other analogues and IPO itself were ineffective. The results of this study provide new leads for development of inhibitors of NNK metabolism and chemical probes for the active site of P450 enzymes in Clara cells.
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