Metabolism of levulinate in perfused rat livers and live rats: conversion to the drug of abuse 4-hydroxypentanoate.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Calcium levulinate (4-ketopentanoate) is used as an oral and parenteral source of calcium. We hypothesized that levulinate is converted in the liver to 4-hydroxypentanoate, a new drug of abuse, and that this conversion is accelerated by ethanol oxidation. We confirmed these hypotheses in live rats, perfused rat livers, and liver subcellular preparations. Levulinate is reduced to (R)-4-hydroxypentanoate by a cytosolic and a mitochondrial dehydrogenase, which are NADPH- and NADH-dependent, respectively. A mitochondrial dehydrogenase or racemase system also forms (S)-4-hydroxypentanoate. In livers perfused with [(13)C(5)]levulinate, there was substantial CoA trapping in levulinyl-CoA, 4-hydroxypentanoyl-CoA, and 4-phosphopentanoyl-CoA. This CoA trapping was increased by ethanol, with a 6-fold increase in the concentration of 4-phosphopentanoyl-CoA. Levulinate is catabolized by 3 parallel pathways to propionyl-CoA, acetyl-CoA, and lactate. Most intermediates of the 3 pathways were identified by mass isotopomer analysis and metabolomics. The production of 4-hydroxypentanoate from levulinate and its stimulation by ethanol is a potential public health concern.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Harris, SR; Zhang, G-F; Sadhukhan, S; Murphy, AM; Tomcik, KA; Vazquez, EJ; Anderson, VE; Tochtrop, GP; Brunengraber, H

Published Date

  • February 18, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 286 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 5895 - 5904

PubMed ID

  • 21126961

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3037702

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1083-351X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1074/jbc.M110.196808


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States