, Volume 63, Issue 5, pp 351-355

Metabolism of methyl chloride by human erythrocytes

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Erythrocyte cytoplasm of rats, mice and humans was incubated in head space vials with methyl chloride and the decline in concentration of the substance monitored as a parameter of metabolism. The production of S-methylglutathione was controlled by tlc. Rats, mice, bovines, pigs, sheep and rhesus monkeys showed no conversion of methyl chloride in erythrocyte cytoplasm. About 60% of the human blood samples showed a significant metabolic elimination of the substance (conjugators), whereas about 40% did not (non-conjugators). The production of S-methylglutathione indicated enzymatic metabolism of the substance by glutathione S-transferases. In literature, a “major” and “minor” form of human erythrocyte glutathione S-transferase has been described. The results indicate that the “minor” form is probably responsible for the unique metabolism of methyl chloride in human erythrocytes.