Metabolomics investigation of voriconazole-induced hepatotoxicity in mice.


Wu SL, Wei TY, Lin SW, Su KY, Kuo CH.
Chem Res Toxicol. 2019 Aug 14.


Voriconazole (VCZ) is a widely used triazole drug for the treatment of serious incidence of invasive fungal infections (IFIs), and its most commonly reported clinical side effect is hepatotoxicity. The mechanism of VCZ-induced hepatotoxicity is unclear, and no specific marker can be used for prediction and diagnosis. This study aims to apply the targeted metabolomics approach to identify specific VCZ-induced metabolites related to hepatotoxicity via liquid chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-QqQ-MS) in a C57BL/6 mouse model. Mice treated with three repeated doses of 40 mg/kg VCZ by tail vein injection to induce hepatotoxicity (VCZ-induced hepatotoxicity group, n = 8) were compared with mice without treatment (control group, n = 10). Both liver tissue and plasma were collected and analyzed to propose underlying mechanisms associated with VCZ-induced hepatotoxicity. The results indicated that the metabolites associated with oxidative stress were altered, and alterations in the metabolites involved in glutathione biosynthesis were noticed. The ratio of glutamine to glutamate showed a significant reduction in the VCZ-induced hepatotoxicity group compared to the control group, suggesting that glutamine might be transformed into glutamate for glutathione biosynthesis. Accordingly, we proposed that VCZ-induced hepatotoxicity is associated with oxidative stress to cause cell dysfunction, leading to alterations in energy metabolism, the urea cycle, and nucleoside metabolism. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to apply metabolomics for investigating the mechanism of VCZ-induced hepatotoxicity.