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Determinants of MTT reduction in rat hepatocytes.

Dhanjal, P. and Fry, J.R.

Biomarkers, 2(2), 111-116 (1997).

The determinants of reduction of the dye MTT (3-[4,5dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) in rat hepatocytes have been investigated. NADH, NADPH, and succinate were substrates for MTT reduction in rat liver homogenate, activity being greatest with NADH and least with succinate. Similar results were obtained with submitochondrial particles isolated from rat liver. NAD(P)Hdependent reduction of MTT was also detected in rat liver microsomes and cytosol. Rotenone, at a concentration that inhibited NAD(P)H-dependent MTT reduction in submitochondrial particles, did not inhibit MTT reduction in rat hepatocytes. Malonate, at a concentration that inhibited succinate-dependent MTT reduction in liver homogenate, did not inhibit MTT reduction in rat hepatocytes. Incubation of rat hepatocytes with ethanol or lactate (increase NADH levels), dicoumarol (inhibitor of DT-diaphorase), aminopyrine or hexobarbitone (substrates for the NADPH-requiring cytochrome P450-dependent microsomal monooxygenase) led to significant increases in the level of cellular MTT reduction. From these data, it is concluded that extramitochondrial NAD(P)H is the principal reductant for MTT reduction in rat hepatocytes, with mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity being only a minor contributor. It is also possible that cellular generation of superoxide (as might be expected on redox cycling of endogenous quinones following inhibition of DT diaphorase by dicoumarol