Glycine/glycine N-methyltransferase/sarcosine axis mediates benzene-induced hematotoxicity


Benzene, an important and widely used industrial chemical, is the cause of different types of blood disorders. However, the mechanisms of benzene-induced hematotoxicity are still unclear. This study aimed to explore the effects of benzene on metabolism, especially in amino acid metabolism, in human peripheral blood B lymphocyte cells (AHH-1 cells) treated with 1,4-benzoquinone (1,4-BQ) and in benzene-exposed population based on the un-targeted and targeted metabolomics platforms. The results showed that 1,4-BQ disturbed the metabolic activity, such as arginine biosynthesis, citrate cycle, glycine, serine, and threonine metabolism pathways, and significantly upregulated the ratio of sarcosine/glycine in vitro. Meanwhile, the targeted metabolomics further showed that the ratio of sarcosine/glycine was also increased in the benzene exposure population. Notably, the expression of glycine N-methyltransferase (GNMT), an enzyme catalyzing the transformation of glycine to sarcosine, was upregulated both in 1,4-BQ treated AHH-1 cells and benzene-exposed workers. These results imply that the glycine/GNMT/sarcosine axis was involved in benzene-induced hematotoxicity. Such evidence will help to develop a better understanding of the underlying mechanism of benzene-induced hematotoxicity at the level of amino acid metabolism.

Authors: Wei Zhang, Xiaoli Guo, Jing Ren, Yujiao Chen, Jingyu Wang, Ai Gao
; Full Source: Toxicology and applied pharmacology 2021 Aug 18;428:115682. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2021.115682.