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Metabolic Portraits
before March 9, 2006


Every living being receives from the outside and produces itself plenty of toxic substances during its life. For example, bilirubin, a product of hemoglobin natural decomposition, is a terrible poison. System of detoxication prevents an organism from being poisoned. This system transforms toxic substances and neutralizes them. Detoxication system consists of several enzymes, each existing in many genetically defined forms, that’s why its work is not always well coordinated. In case of its failure a man or a beast, is most likely to catch a disease, especially if he leaves in unfriendly environment.

For example, abnormally high level of activity of one of the detoxication system components, cytochrome P-459, leads to high cancer risk of industrial areas’ dwellers, and low level or absence of bilirubin neutralizing enzyme synthesis causes infant serious diseases. Those, whose detoxication system works with random intensity, have different responses on drugs. As you know, the difference between drug and poison lies in the dose, and drug action depends on how long and in which form they reside in an organism.

It is possible to estimate detoxication system enzyme activity of every animal or human being; the scientists call this technique “making metabolic portraits”. According to academician L.A. Piruzian, a metabolic portrait is required when one needs serious drug therapy. Drug action is designed for an average person. When doctors prescribe a drug, they usually keep in mind its contraindications, i.e. satellite diseases. If a patient takes the drug for the first time, he never knows the consequences. No one can discard sudden complications during the therapy or individual drug intolerance, caused possibly by detoxication system nature.

But may be this time the scientists have cut it too far and difference between human beings is too small to care about it? RAS Centre for Theoretical Problems of Physics and Chemistry Pharmacology under supervising of L.A. Piruzian have carried out a series of experiments to find how different the activity of detoxication system of individuals, belonging to one species, may be.

The scientists have made metabolic portraits of mature mice of eight different lines. They have extracted detoxicating enzymes from animal liver and measured their activity. Some mice from different lines have had 14-fold range of enzyme activity. The scientists have described not only separate enzymes’ activity, but also whole detoxication system efficiency according to transformation rate of some aromatic compounds, which are the basis for toxin, mutagen and carcinogen formation. After metabolic portraits of mice were ready, the scientists have set two nominal groups, significantly different in toxin oxidation rate.

The researchers have come to a conclusion that animals of a certain species differ significantly in detoxication system enzyme activity; moreover these differences are genetically specified. Despite that fact that experiments were carried out on mice, all results apply to human beings to the full extent. That is why metabolic portraits surely make sense, when one is going to undertake long therapy using toxic drugs. However one should bear in mind that different toxins are neutralized by different enzymes, which activity is object for attention in each specific case.

Tags: Russian Scientists     

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