Electrochemical Oxidation of Troglitazone: Identification and Characterization of the Major Reactive Metabolite in Liver Microsomes

Troglitazone (TGZ) was developed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes but was withdrawn from the market due to hepatotoxicity. The formation of reactive metabolites has been associated with the observed hepatotoxicity. Such reactive metabolites have been proposed to be formed via three different mechanisms. One of the proposed mechanisms involves the oxidation of the chromane moiety of TGZ to a reactive o-quinone methide. The two other mechanisms involve metabolic activation of the thiazolidinedione moiety of TGZ. In the present study, it is shown that electrochemical oxidations can be used to generate a reactive metabolite of TGZ, which can be trapped by GSH or N-acetylcysteine. From incubations of TGZ with rat and human liver microsomes in the presence of either GSH or N-acetylcysteine, it was shown that similar conjugates were formed in vitro as formed from electrochemical oxidations of TGZ. One- and two-dimensional NMR studies of the troglitazone-S-(N-acetyl)cysteine conjugate revealed that N-acetylcysteine was attached to a benzylic carbon in the chromane moiety, showing that the conjugate was formed via a reaction between the o-quinone methide of TGZ and N-acetylcysteine. From electrochemical oxidations of rosiglitazone, pioglitazone, and ciglitazone in the presence of GSH, no GSH conjugates could be identified. These three compounds all contain a thiazolidinedione moiety. In conclusion, it has been shown that the primary reactive metabolite of TGZ formed from electrochemical oxidation was the o-quinone methide, and this metabolite was similar to what was observed to be the primary reaction product in human and rat liver microsomes.