Nuclear receptors play important roles in chemically induced liver hypertrophy in rodents. To clarify the involvement of constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and other nuclear receptors in mouse liver hypertrophy induced by different doses of piperonyl butoxide (PBO), wild-type and CAR-knockout mice were administered PBO (200, 1,000, or 5,000 ppm) in the basal diet for 1 week. Increased liver weight and diffuse hepatocellular hypertrophy were observed at 5,000 ppm for both genotypes, accompanied by increased Cyp3a11 mRNA and CYP3A protein expression, suggesting that CAR-independent pathway, possibly pregnane X receptor (PXR), plays a major role in the induction of hypertrophy. Moreover, wild-type mice at 5,000 ppm showed enhanced hepatocellular hypertrophy and strong positive staining for CYP2B in the centrilobular area, suggesting the localized contribution of CAR. At 1,000 ppm, only wild-type mice showed liver weight increase and centrilobular hepatocellular hypertrophy concurrent with elevated Cyp2b10 mRNA expression and strong CYP2B staining, indicating that CAR was essential at 1,000 ppm. We concluded that high-dose PBO induced hypertrophy via CAR and another pathway, while lower dose of PBO induced a pathway mediated predominantly by CAR. The dose-responsiveness on liver hypertrophy is important for understanding the involvement of nuclear receptors.
2015 The Japanese Society of Toxicology