An investigation of the metabolism of N-nitroso-N-methylaniline by phenobarbital- and pyrazole-induced Sprague-Dawley rat liver and esophagus derived S-9

Barry Gold, Jenelle Farber, Eleanor Rogan

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The metabolism and mutagenicity of the esophageal carcinogen N-nitroso-N-methylaniline (NMA) was studied using hepatic and esophageal 9000 × g supernatant (S-9) preparations from Sprague-Dawley rats induced with pyrazole and phenobarbital. Only pyrazole-induced hepatic S-9 was able to dose-dependently activate NMA to a mutagen in the Ames assay and specifically in Salmonella typhimurium TA1537. NMA in the presence of phenobarbital-induced S-9 gave a very weak non-dose dependent mutagenic response. Metabolism of NMA by the two induced hepatic and esophageal S-9 fractions yielded aniline and N-methylaniline (MA). Phenobarbital-induced S-9 from both tissues also afforded phenol, while none was found with the pyrazole-induced preparations. Phenol formation presumably arose from the direct oxidative demethylation of NMA via a benzenediazonium ion (BDI) intermediate. The results indicate that an important metabolic pathway for NMA, with both inducing agents, entails an initial denitrosation to yield MA, which in turn rapidly undergoes oxidative demethylation to aniline. The conversion of NMA to phenol also suggests that direct demethylation of NMA in the phenobarbital-induced system is an important metabolic pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1987



  • N-Nitroso-N-methylaniline - In vitro metabolism - Mutagenicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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