Metabolism study was carried out on 12β-hydroxylveratroylzygadenine (VOG) that is a cevine-type alkaloid existing in Veratrum nigrum L. and a neurotoxic component. In order to better understand the potential mechanism of neurotoxicity of VOG, this study measured VOG-induced DNA damage in the cerebellum and cerebral cortex of mice after 7 days repetitive oral dose by using single-cell gel electrophoresis (Comet assay). High performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was developed and applied to separate and identify in vitro and in vivo metabolites of VOG for investing the possible relationship of metabolism and neurotoxicity. In vitro experiment was carried out using rat liver microsomes, while the in vivo study was conducted on rats. The obtained results indicated that VOG might cause DNA damage in cerebellum and cerebral cortex of mice in a dose-dependent manner. Hydrolysis of ester bond and O-demethylation were proposed to be the main in vivo metabolic pathways of VOG, while the major in vitro metabolic pathways were proposed as methyl oxidation to aldehyde, dehydrogenation, hydrolysis of ester bond, hydrolysis of ester bond together with acetylation, and methoxylation. O-Demethylation reaction was likely to be associated with reactive oxygen species production, leading to the DNA damage.
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