Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) has a liver tumor promoting activity in rats, and is also known as a cytochrome p450 1A (CYP1A) inducer. The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting from CYP1A induction due to I3C, is probably involved in the tumor promotion. To clarify whether ROS generation contributes to I3C’s induction of hepatocellular altered foci, partially hepatectomized rats were fed a diet containing 0.5% of I3C for 8 weeks with or without 0.3% N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), an antioxidant, in their drinking water after N-diethylnitrosamine (DEN) initiation. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that the glutathione-S-transferase placental form (GST-P) positive foci promoted by I3C were suppressed by the administration of NAC. The mRNAs of members of the phase II nuclear factor, erythroid derived 2, like 2 (Nrf2) gene batteries, whose promoter region is called as antioxidant response element (ARE), were down-regulated in the DEN-I3C-NAC group compared to the DEN-I3C group, but Cyp1a1 was not suppressed in the DEN-I3C-NAC group compared to the DEN-I3C group. There was no marked difference in production of microsomal ROS and genomic 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxygunosine (8-OHdG) as an oxidative DNA marker between the DEN-I3C-NAC and DEN-I3C groups, while mapkapk3 and Myc were decreased by the NAC treatment. These results indicate that oxidative stress plays an important role for I3C’s tumor promotion, and NAC suppresses induction of hepatocellular altered foci with suppressed cytoplasmic oxidative stress.
2011 The Japanese Society of Toxicology