6-Substituted 3,4-Benzocoumarins: A New Structural Class of Inducers and Inhibitors of CYP1A1-Dependent Activity

H. Liu, M. Santostefano, Y. Lu, S. Safe

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21 Scopus citations


A new synthetic route was utilized to prepare 6-substituted 3,4-benzocoumarins where the substituents were iodo, fluoro, trifluoromethyl, bromo, chloro, isopropyl, ethyl, t-butyl, methyl, hydrogen, amino, phenyl, or nitro; 3,4-naphthocoumarin was also synthesized. The relative affinities of these congeners for the aryl hydrocarbon (Ah) receptor were determined using rat hepatic cytosol and 2,3,7,8-[3H]tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin ([3H]TCDD) as the radioligand. In addition, the Ah receptor agonist activity of the 6-substituted 3,4-benzocoumarins was determined from their concentration-dependent induction of ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) activity. In contrast with many other structural classes of halogenated aromatics, there was not a correlation between the structure-binding versus structure induction relationships for the 6-substituted 3,4-benzocoumarins. These results suggested that some of these congeners may exhibit partial Ah receptor antagonist activities and this was investigated by determining the inhibitory effects of 6-substituted 3,4-benzocoumarins on TCDD-induced EROD activity in rat hepatoma H4II E cells in culture. Only four compounds (6-isopropyl, 6-phenyl, 6-fluoro, and 6-t-butyl) inhibited the TCDD-induced response (21.7 to 64.4% inhibition) and the mechanism of action of the most active inhibitor, 6-t-butyl-3,4-benzocoumarin, was further investigated. In contrast, with other partial Ah receptor antagonists such as α-naphthoflavone, cotreatment of rat hepatoma H4II E cells with 1 nM TCDD plus 1 and 10 μM 6-t-butyl-3,4-benzocoumarin did not result in decreased levels of the Ah receptor complex (liganded with TCDD). In addition, there was not significant inhibition of TCDD-induced CYP1A1 mRNA levels or protein as determined by Northern and Western blot analyses. The results suggest that 6-t-butyl-3,4-benzocoumarin or one of its metabolites is a post-translational inhibitor of CYP1A1-dependent enzyme (EROD) activity in this cell line and thus represents a novel Ah receptor-independent inhibition of CYP1A1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-231
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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