Unbalanced biotransformation metabolism and oxidative stress status: implications for deficient fatty acid oxidation


The concept of accumulating xenobiotics within the human body as a health risk is well known. However, these compounds can also be endo-genous, as in the case of inborn errors of me-tabolism, and lead to some of the same symp-toms as seen in xenobiotic intoxication. Bio-transformation of both exogenous and endo-genous toxic compounds is an important function of the liver, and the critical balance between these systems is of fundamental importance for cellular health. We propose a novel model, to describe the critical balance between Phase I and Phase II biotransformation and how a disturbance in this balance will increase the oxidative stress status, with resulting pathological consequences. We further used deficient fatty acid oxidation to verify the proposed model, as deficient fatty acid oxidation is associated with the accumulation of characteristic metabolites. These accumulating metabolites undergo both Phase I and Phase II biotransformation reactions, with resulting depletion of biotransformation substrates and co-factors. Depletion of these important biomolecules is capable of disturbing the balance between Phase I and Phase II reactions, and disturbance of this balance will increase oxidative stress status. The value of the proposed model is illustrated by its application to a clinical case investigated in our laboratory. In this case the possibility of deficient fatty acid oxidation only became evident once the critical balance between Phase I and Phase II biotransformation was restored with oral replenishment of biotransformation substrates. In addition to bio-chemical improvement, there was also significant clinical improvement. The significance of this model lies within the treatment possibilities, as the assessment of biotransformation metabolism and oxidative stress status can lead to the development of nutritional treatment strategies to correct imbalances. This in turn may reduce the chances of, or delay the onset of certain disease states.

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Mels, C. , Westhuizen, F. , Pretorius, P. and Erasmus, E. (2011) Unbalanced biotransformation metabolism and oxidative stress status: implications for deficient fatty acid oxidation. Health, 3, 43-48. doi: 10.4236/health.2011.31009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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