1. A number of acetylenic-substituted steroidal and non-steroidal compounds, including 2,2-dipropargylacetamide, pregna-2,4-dien-20-yno[2,3-d]isoxazol-17-ol (Danazol) and acetylene gas, when administered to rats in vivo brought about a decrease in the concentrations of hepatic microsomal cytochrome P-450 and haem. Abnormal haem-breakdown products, ‘green pigments’, and porphyrins accumulated in the livers of these animals. 2. For loss of microsomal cytochrome P-450 to occur in vitro, metabolic activation of the acetylenic substituent was necessary. The enzyme system responsible required NADPH and air, and was induced by pretreatment of rats with phenobarbitone; these are characteristics typical of the microsomal mixed-function oxidases. 3. When rats were dosed with 17α-ethynyl-17β-hydroxyandrost-4-en-3-one (ethynyltestosterone, 1mmol/kg) the pattern of green pigments extracted from the liver 4h after dosing and separated by t.l.c. was quite different from that in rats given 17β-hydroxy-17α-vinylandrost-4-en-3-one (vinyltestosterone), suggesting that reduction of the unsaturated triple bond to a double bond is not normally part of the metabolic activation pathway of the acetylenic substituent. 4. The green pigments extracted from the livers of rats 4h after the administration of the acetylenic-substituted compounds (1mmol/kg) when separated by silica-gel t.l.c. had variable RF values. The number and distribution of green pigments was characteristic for each compound examined. There was little correlation between the total loss of hepatic microsomal haem and the apparent intensity of the green pigments seen on the thin-layer chromatograms. 5. After incubation of [14C]acetylene in vitro with microsomal preparations from phenobarbitone-pretreated rats and a NADPH-generating system, no significant covalent binding to microsomal protein was detected over a 30min incubation period, although under similar conditions there was a significant loss of cytochrome P-450.

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