Mechanism of differential inhibition of hepatic and pancreatic fatty acid ethyl ester synthase by inhibitors of serine-esterases: In vitro and cell culture studies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Earlier, we have shown that rat hepatic and pancreatic fatty acid ethyl ester (FAEE) synthases are structurally and functionally similar to rat liver carboxylesterase (CE) and pancreatic cholesterol esterase (ChE), respectively. We have also reported that only hepatic FAEE synthase is inhibited by tri-o-tolylphosphate (TOTP) in vivo and in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) cells. The metabolism of TOTP is a prerequisite for the inhibition of hepatic FAEE synthase as well as esterase activity. To further elucidate the mechanism of such differential inhibition by inhibitors of serine esterases, we synthesized two metabolites of TOTP, 2-(o-cresyl)-4H-1:3:2-benzodioxaphosphoran- 2-one (CBDP; cyclic saligenin phosphate) and di-o-tolyl-o-(α-hydroxy) tolylphosphate (HO-TOTP), and one ChE inhibitor, 3-benzyl-6-chloro-2-pyrone (3-BCP). The inhibitory effect of CBDP, HO-TOTP, and 3-BCP on FAEE synthase and esterase activity was studied using rat hepatic and pancreatic postnuclear (PN) fractions, commercial porcine hepatic CE and pancreatic ChE, and in HepG2 and rat pancreatic tumor (AR42J) cell lines. Only HO-TOTP and CBDP inhibited FAEE synthase as well as esterase activity of hepatic PN fraction and commercial CE and ChE in a concentration-dependent manner, and the inhibition was found to be irreversible. However, no inhibition was found in pancreatic PN fraction by both TOTP metabolites and 3-BCP. Although 3-BCP inhibited only the esterase activity of commercial ChE in a concentration-dependent manner, the activity was reversible within 30 min of incubation. Studies with HepG2 cells also showed a significant inhibition of FAEE synthase-esterase activity by CBDP and HO-TOTP within 15 min of incubation, while no inhibition was observed in AR42J cells. 3-BCP did not inhibit FAEE synthase-esterase activity either in HepG2 or AR42J cells. Such differential inhibitory effect of the TOTP metabolites on hepatic and pancreatic FAEE synthase-esterase is supported by our earlier in vivo and in vitro studies. Further investigations are needed to understand the biochemical mechanism(s) of inactivation of TOTP metabolites and 3-BCP in the pancreas and AR42J cells towards FAEE synthase-esterase activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-15
Number of pages9
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004



  • 3-Benzyl-6-chloro-2-pyrone
  • Carboxylesterase
  • Cholesterol esterase
  • Fatty acid ethyl ester synthase
  • Tri-o-tolyl phosphate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology

Cite this