2022 年 47 巻 8 号 p. 317-326
Testicular Leydig cells produce testosterone through the participation of steroidogenic proteins. The CYP1B1 enzyme has been shown to catalyze 7,12-dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA), a representative polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. We hypothesized that exposure to DMBA causes Leydig cell cytotoxicity through activation of CYP1B1. Leydig cells were exposed to various concentrations of DMBA for the induction of CYP1B1 expression and activity. The status of CYP1B1 function was monitored by evaluation of cytotoxicity-mediated cell death. Our data show that exposure to DMBA causes cytotoxicity in Leydig cells by CYP1B1 activation. DMBA evoked a significant increase in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by which the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) is initiated and caspase-3 activation is augmented. The knockdown of CYP1B1 expression resulted in the suppression of DMBA-induced apoptosis via reduced p53 activation and caspase-3 activation, suggesting that a final metabolite of DMBA (i.e., DMBA-DE) bioactivated by CYP1B1 induces p53 activation by binding to DNA and subsequently causing apoptosis via caspase-3 activation. This finding provides evidence for constitutive expression of CYP1B1 in Leydig cells, which is a trait that only requires an initiating signal for its activity. Further research on CYP1B1 activation-provoked steroid metabolism in Leydig cells may provide decisive clues for elucidating its innate function.