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Isolation and characterization of human intestinal bacteria capable of transforming the dietary carcinogen 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine

Vanhaecke, Lynn; Vercruysse, Filip; Boon, Nico; Verstraete, Willy; Cleenwerck, Ilse; De Wachter, Marjan; De Vos, Paul; van de Wiele, Tom

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PMID: 18192423


2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) is a carcinogenic heterocyclic aromatic amine formed in meat products during cooking. Although the formation of hazardous PhIP metabolites by mammalian enzymes has been extensively reported, research on the putative involvement of the human intestinal microbiota in PhIP metabolism remains scarce. In this study, the in vitro conversion of PhIP into its microbial derivate, 7-hydroxy-5-methyl-3-phenyl-6,7,8,9-tetrahydropyrido[3',2':4,5]imidazo[1,2-a]pyrimidin-5-ium chloride (PhIP-M1), by fecal samples from 18 human volunteers was investigated. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis showed that all human fecal samples transformed PhIP but with efficiencies ranging from 1.8 to 96% after 72 h of incubation. Two PhIP-transforming strains, PhIP-M1-a and PhIP-M1-b, were isolated from human feces and identified by fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism and pheS sequence analyses as Enterococcus faecium strains. Some strains from culture collections belonging to the species E. durans, E. avium, E. faecium, and Lactobacillus reuteri were also able to perform this transformation. Yeast extract, special peptone, and meat extract supported PhIP transformation by the enriched E. faecium strains, while tryptone, monomeric sugars, starch, and cellulose did not. Glycerol was identified as a fecal matrix constituent required for PhIP transformation. Abiotic synthesis of PhIP-M1 and quantification of the glycerol metabolite 3-hydroxypropionaldehyde (3-HPA) confirmed that the anaerobic fermentation of glycerol via 3-HPA is the critical bacterial transformation process responsible for the formation of PhIP-M1. Whether it is a detoxification is still a matter of debate, since PhIP-M1 has been shown to be cytotoxic toward Caco-2 cells but is not mutagenic in the Ames assay.

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