The embryonic stem cell test (EST) is a validated in vitro method to assess the embryotoxic potential of compounds and is a promising tool for drug screening. EST requires microscopic observation of beating cardiomyocytes differentiated from embryonic stem cells as a toxicological endpoint. However, this process is time-consuming and lacks throughput performance. To improve the analysis, we introduced an electrophysiological method with a microelectrode array system for the evaluation of differentiated cardiomyocytes. Embryotoxic (valproic acid, verapamil, and 5-fluorouracil) and non-embryotoxic (penicillin G, d-camphor, and isoniazid) compounds were assessed with the system. Mouse embryonic stem cells were differentiated into cardiomyocytes and treated with each compound during the differentiation process. The embryotoxicity of each compound was then assessed by measuring the field potentials of differentiated cardiomyocytes using the microelectrode array system, as well as by microscopic evaluation. All the embryotoxic compounds dose-dependently inhibited the field potential formation and the myocardial beating of differentiated cells, while the non-embryotoxic compounds did not affect either endpoint. The detection capabilities of the two assay methods were similar. These results indicated that the field potential measurements can be used as an alternative endpoint of EST. Moreover, the field potential can be measured automatically, introducing a high throughput performance compared to the conventional microscopic observation. We therefore concluded that the endpoint analysis with the microelectrode array system improves the original EST and can be useful for the assessment of the embryotoxic potential of compounds.
We examined the cell proliferation activity of kidney in young growing rats using flash and cumulative labeling with bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU). Rats were subjected to the study at the age of 6 weeks, and cumulative labeling was carried out for periods of 7 to 28 days. BrdU-positive cells were observed after flash labeling and were increased by cumulative labeling. The positive epithelia were mainly distributed in the cortex and the outer stripe of the outer medulla and were scarce in the inner stripe of the outer medulla and inner medulla throughout all labeling periods. In the tubular epithelium, the majority of positive cells were found in the proximal tubule. In the proximal tubule, positive epithelia were abundant in the medullary rays and in the outer stripe of the outer medulla. In the intermediate tubule to collecting duct, positive epithelia were rare. In the renal corpuscle, positive nuclei were mainly found in the endothelial cells and the mesangial cells and were scarce in the parietal cells of the Bowman's capsule. BrdU-positive nuclei were not observed in podocytes. These results indicate that renal tubules actively grow relative to epithelial proliferation, and that the endothelial cells, the mesangial cells and the parietal cells in the renal corpuscle also proliferate at the age of 6 to 10 weeks in rats. For assessment of renal toxicity using young growing rats, not only the morphologic and physiologic features unique to the kidney but also the growing process of the kidney should be taken into account.
In order to verify the nutritional aspect of alterations of the plasma and tissue transaminase activities, rats were fed 4 hr per day for 35 days (the spaced-fed (SF) rats) and the time course of the alterations in plasma and tissue transaminase activity was compared with those in the ad libitum fed (ALF) rats. Plasma transaminase activities were stable throughout the experiment period in the ALF rats. In the SF rats there were alterations in the plasma alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activities, the direction of which was different between the early phase and late phase of the experiment period; plasma ALT activities decreased in the early phase and gradually increased in the late phase. Plasma aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activities were stable in the SF rats throughout the experiment period as well as the ALF rats. The decreases in plasma ALT activities in the early phase were considered to be related to decreases in ALT activities in the small intestinal mucosa (SI mucosa). On the other hand, the increases in plasma ALT activities in the late phase were considered to be related to increases in ALT activities in the liver. Multiple regression analyses (MRAs) revealed that plasma ALT activities in the SF rats could be estimated by the ALT activities in the SI mucosa and liver. From these results, the alterations of the plasma ALT activities in the SF rats could be explained by those in the SI mucosa and liver under the conditions in our study.
Methotrexate (MTX) has been used as the first-line disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) in patients with early progressive rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Several severe side effects such as myelosuppression, hepato-, nephro-, and pulmonary toxicities have been reported. However, the pathogenic mechanism of MTX-induced pulmonary fibrosis is still unknown. Here, we evaluated the morphological and biological changes of the pulmonary fibrosis in mice treated with MTX. Three, four and five weeks after consecutive administration of MTX (3 mg/kg/day), hydroxyproline content in the lung tissues increased significantly to about 2 times higher that of the control level. This result closely reflected to the results of hematoxylin and eosin (HE) and Azan stains. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that MTX treatment resulted in a decrease of alveolar epithelial cells and an increase of fibroblast cells in the mouse lung tissues. When we examined the effects of MTX on primary mouse alveolar epithelial cell (MAEC) and mouse lung fibroblast (MLF) survival in vitro, the efficiency of MTX-induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis in MAEC was more sensitive than MLF cells. Thus, our results indicate that the administration of MTX by an oral route could induce a fibrotic response with cell dysfunction of the alveolar epithelium by which MTX-induced apoptosis. Our results thus suggest that MTX could induce alveolar epithelial cell injury and resulted in the loss of integrity of the alveolar-capillary barrier basement membranes followed by the recruitment and proliferation of myofibroblasts with the deposition of collagens.
Lead is known to disrupt the biological systems by altering the molecular interactions, cell signaling, and cellular function. Exposure to even low levels of lead may have potential hazardous effects on brain, liver, kidneys and testes. The efficacy of Etlingera elatior (torch ginger) to protect hepatotoxicity induced by lead acetate was evaluated experimentally in male Sprague - Dawley rats. Rats were exposed to lead acetate in drinking water (500 ppm) for 21 days and the effects of concurrent treatment with extract of E. elatior on hepatic lipid hydroperoxides (LPO), protein carbonyl content (PCC), total antioxidants (TA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX) and glutathione S- Transferase (GST) levels and histopathological changes in liver were evaluated. There was a significant decrease in TA and other antioxidant enzymes (p < 0.05) and increase in LPO and PCC (p < 0.05) with lead acetate ingestion. Concurrent treatment with E. elatior extract significantly reduced the LPO and PCC (p < 0.05) in serum and increased the antioxidant enzyme levels (p < 0.05) in the liver. Significant histopathological changes were seen in hepatic tissue with chronic lead ingestion. Treatment with E. elatior significantly reduced these lead-induced changes in hepatic architecture. E. elatior has also reduced the blood lead levels (BLL). Thus, there has been extensive biochemical and structural alterations indicative of liver toxicity with exposure to lead and E. elatior treatment significantly reduced these oxidative damage. Our results suggest that E. elatior has a powerful antioxidant effect against lead-induced hepatotoxicity.
The secretory profile of growth hormone (GH) is sexually dimorphic in rats. In male transgenic (TG) rats expressing human GH (hGH) that we generated, the circulating levels of both hGH and endogenous GH are flattened with no male-type pulsatility. To elucidate the regulatory role of episodic GH profile on the liver, the hepatic transcriptome of male TG rats at the middle of the light and dark phases was characterized by genome-wide analyses as compared with that of male wild-type (WT) rats. Transcripts commonly up- or down-regulated regardless of the lighting conditions in TG rats were mainly enriched in the metabolism of xenobiotics. In TG rats, the gene expression profile was functionally feminized, verifying that the sexually dimorphic profile of GH rather than genetic sexuality is a stronger sex-determining factor on the hepatic transcriptome. The common transcripts which fluctuated during the day in both TG and WT rats were enriched in circadian rhythm signaling, and physiological rhythmicity was considered to be finely interconnected with liver metabolism via sexually dimorphic GH secretion. In contrast, some genes were differentially regulated in TG rats at only one of two time points measured, and others were fluctuated daily in only one genotype. In particular, some genes involved in the GH signaling pathway were included, suggesting the signal transduction is circadian-modulated depending upon the GH profile. Our transcriptome analyses clarified the regulatory role of episodic GH profile on the liver and strengthen the functional link between sexually dimorphic GH secretion, liver metabolism, and its circadian regulation.
The aims of this study were to determine a suitable method to correct the ventricular repolarization period against the RR interval in isolated perfused Langendorff guinea pig heart and to clarify the reliability of this model using several drugs. QT and RR intervals from an electrocardiogram and the epicardial monophasic action potential duration (MAP90) were measured. Two drugs clinically known to be QT-prolonging (E-4031, moxifloxacin) and two known to be non-QT-prolonging (verapamil, zatebradine) were used for the study. To determine a method of correcting the ventricular repolarization period against RR interval, heart rates were slowed with 0.3 µM zatebradine, a specific bradycardiac agent, and then accelerated with atrial pacing to obtain a wide range of MAP90/RR relationships. An exponential rate-correction model elicited the most appropriate algorithm for the relationship among the four models tested. Based on linear regression analysis, the exponential showed superior dissociation of corrected MAP90s against RR intervals than generic Bazett’s and Fridericia’s formulae. E-4031 and moxifloxacin prolonged the corrected QT (QTc) intervals and MAP90 under atrial pacing at a cycle length of 0.25 sec (MAP90(pacing)) dose-dependently; verapamil and zatebradine failed to prolong them, indicating that the reliability of this model was excellent. MAP90(pacing) prolongation by moxifloxacin, the positive compound in the clinical “Thorough QT/QTc Study”, was seen at around QTc-prolonging concentrations in clinic, suggesting that the sensitivity would be appropriate for QT evaluation. We therefore concluded that the isolated guinea pig heart model is sufficiently sensitive and useful for assessing the potential QT prolongation of drugs.
The prevalence of allergic disorders is increasing in industrial areas and countries. Recent reports suggest that some environmental pollutants are related to the increase in allergic diseases, and we reported that trichloroethylene (TCE) is a candidate chemical for causing the increase of allergic diseases, as TCE ingestion is associated with allergic reaction enhancement. TCE is widely used in many industries, and it is commonly detected as an environmental contaminant. This study aimed to clarify the immunotoxicity of TCE in detail. BALB/c mice were treated with TCE dissolved in drinking water for 2 and 4 weeks, and the mice were immunized with ovalbumin (OVA)/aluminum hydroxide (alum) twice. On the final day of the TCE exposure period, we measured the active cutaneous anaphylaxis (ACA) reaction and the antigen- specific IgE level in serum as well as the histamine level at the allergic reaction site and assayed the proliferation rates of splenocytes collected from the animals. The ACA reaction was enhanced by TCE ingestion. The OVA specific IgE level in mice was enhanced by TCE exposure for 4 weeks. The proliferation rate of the splenocytes was enhanced by TCE ingestion for 2 and 4 weeks. The enhancement of the ACA reaction by TCE ingestion via drinking water may be related to the increase in splenocyte proliferation. On the other hand, it may be weakly related to antigen-specific IgE production.
Chronic stimulus subsequent to cell injury plays an important role in cancer development, but the precise mechanisms remain unknown partly because appropriate animal models are lacking. In the present study, the effects of hepatotoxicant carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) on in vivo mutagenicity were investigated using gpt delta mice with or without p53. Female B6C3F1p53-proficient or -deficient gpt delta mice were given a diet containing 300 ppm of 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx) for 13 weeks, concurrently with intraperitoneal injection of 1 ml/kg CCl4 solution once a week. Mutant frequencies of gpt and red/gam in p53-proficient mice fed MeIQx were both significantly elevated by CCl4 co-treatment. Enhancing effects of CCl4 treatment were also noted in p53-deficient mice. In the mutation spectra analysis of gpt mutant colonies, G:C to T:A transversions were predominantly observed regardless of CCl4 injection, and clonal expansion of gpt colonies were increased in the co-treated group as compared with MeIQx alone group. The present data showing no significant changes in mRNA expression levels of CYP1A2 and GSTa4 between MeIQx-treated groups with and without CCl4. In the Western blotting analysis, CYP1A2 protein levels were significantly decreased in the co-treated group as compared to MeIQx alone group, and GSTα protein levels were not changed among any groups. It is suggested that the mutant frequency by co-treatment with CCl4 might result from some factors other than p53 or MeIQx metabolism/excretion. Thus, our data clearly demonstrate that this model could be a powerful tool for identifying the mechanisms underlying combinatorial effects on carcinogenesis.
Formaldehyde (FA) is a commonly used chemical in everyday life and can react with many molecules in the human body. Although toxicity has been reported, exposure to FA has also been shown to have beneficial effects or no effect at all. In the present study, we examined the effect of FA inhalation on oxidative stress and inflammation in mice. Male adult ICR mice were exposed FA in gaseous form (0.1 ppm), and blood, urine, brain, lung and liver were obtained for 24 hr. Levels of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8OHdG) and NO3- were then determined by HPLC. A second group of mice were injected with 5 mg/kg lipopolysaccharide (LPS) after 24 hr of FA (3 ppm) inhalation and blood and organs were assayed for NO3- level and SOD activity. After exposure to a low dose of FA (0.1 ppm), the 8OHdG/dG ratio significantly increased in plasma. However, the ratio in urine and organs significantly decreased during 24 hr of FA exposure. The NO3- levels mirrored the 8OHdG/dG ratio. After 24 hr exposure to a high dose of FA (3 ppm), NO3- levels in plasma and liver were significantly lower than in control mice exposed to air only. The SOD activity of blood and urine were conversely increased in FA exposed animals. In the present study, we suggest that inhalation of FA at low doses influences the oxidative stress response in a tissue-specific manner. The FA may partially alleviate in some tissues like preconditioning in oxidative stress.
To investigate the effects of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) and/or 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx) on in vivo genotoxicity in the colon, male C57BL/6 p53 (+/+), p53 (+/-) or p53 (-/-) gpt delta mice were twice given 1-week treatment with DSS, 2 weeks apart, and then sacrificed after 2 and 14 weeks. Although colon length was significantly shortened after DSS treatment in all genotypes at each time point, no significant difference in gpt mutant frequency (MF) and tumorigenicity was found between DSS and control groups regardless of genotype. Then, male B6C3F1p53 (+/+) or p53 (+/-) gpt delta mice were given DSS as described above and/or fed 300 ppm MeIQx for 7 weeks. Colon length was significantly shortened with DSS in either genotype at weeks 7 and 26, but no effects of co-treatment with MeIQx or p53 deficiency were evident. MeIQx showed a tendency to increase gpt MF in the colon of mice with either genotype, but co-treatment with DSS did not affect these increments. Appreciable incidences of colonic aberrant crypt foci (ACFs) were reported in DSS as well as co-treatment groups of each genotype. Colonic adenomas were observed in co-treatment groups of both genotypes as well as the DSS-only group of p53 (+/+). No effects of the combination of DSS and MeIQx on colon pre- and neoplastic lesions were reported. Our results indicate that MeIQx may take more than 7 weeks to induce genotoxicity in the colon and that the co-treatment of mice did not enhance colon tumorigenicity even in p53-deficient mice.
Canola and some other types of oil unusually shorten the survival of stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP), compared with soybean oil, perilla oil and animal fats. Since differential effects of canola and soybean oil on steroid hormone metabolism were suggested by a preliminary DNA microarray analysis as a reason for this, the steroid hormone levels in the serum and tissues of SHRSP fed different oils were investigated. The testosterone levels in the serum and the testes were found to be significantly lower in the canola oil group than in the soybean oil group, while no significant differences were detected in the corticosterone and estradiol levels in tissues. In a second experiment, it was found that hydrogenated soybean oil, with a survival-shortening activity comparable to that of canola oil, also decreased the testosterone level in testes to a similar degree. The testosterone-lowering activity of canola and hydrogenated soybean oil observed in SHRSP was considered in relation to other factors possibly affecting the physiology of SHRSP.
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles are widely used in cosmetics, sunscreen and as a photocatalyst. However, little is known about the biological effect of TiO2 nanoparticles in humans and other animals. Here, we investigated whether prenatal exposure to TiO2 nanoparticles impacted the central nervous system in mice. We measured the levels of dopamine (DA) and its metabolites in several regions of the brain in mice using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). HPLC analysis showed that DA and its metabolites were increased in the prefrontal cortex and the neostriatum following prenatal exposure to TiO2 nanoparticles. The present study highlights the possibility that maternal exposure to TiO2 nanoparticles might influence the development of the central dopaminergic system in offspring.
Testicular spermatogenesis was studied in 7-, 10-, 13- and 17-week-old Sprague-Dawley rats whose dams had been administered intragastrically with 2.5, 25, or 250 ng of 3,3′,4,4′,5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB126) or vehicle on days 13-19 of gestation. The 250 ng groups among the 7-, 10- and 13-week-old offspring showed significant inhibition of mature spermatid release (spermiation), but 17-week-old offspring did not show this. These alterations were not observed in other PCB126 and vehicle groups, and no germ cell or Sertoli cell degeneration were observed in any group. Spermiation failure at puberty appeared in those rats born to dams exposed 250 ng/kg PCB126 on days 13-19 of gestation was reversible change that recovered at adulthood. Because the serum testosterone, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone concentrations were similar in the PCB126 and vehicle groups, a direct endocrine cause for the observed effects was unlikely.
To examine the neurotoxic action of inorganic mercury, HgCl2 was injected in the intraventricular space of a mouse brain as a mimic for an Hg(0) vapor-exposed model, and the Hg distribution in the brain and behavioral changes were compared with those of Hg(0)-exposed mice. Although no difference was found in the Hg accumulation and its localization in the brains of two model mice at 3 weeks after Hg treatment, the turnover rate of the brain Hg in the Hg(0)-exposed mice was higher than in the Hg(II)-injected mouse. Despite a similar Hg level in the cerebrum at 3 weeks, behavioral alterations, hyper-activity in an open field test and shortening of latency in a passive avoidance test, were significant only in Hg(II)-injected mice. Considered together with the differences in the turnover rate and the effectiveness of neurotoxic action of the brain Hg, the microenvironment of Hg, such as biomolecules with which Hg interacts, might not be the same in both model mice. Inorganic Hg-induced neurotoxic action could be observed with a minimum dose of Hg(II) without any effects on the other organs, such as the kidney and lung. The present study demonstrated that intraventricular injection of HgCl2 might be a convenient method to study the neurotoxic action of inorganic Hg, and, at least partly, to represent an animal model of Hg(0) vapor exposure.
Changes in blood parameters, especially those related to blood coagulations, were examined on gestational days (GDs) 6, 18 and 28 in Japanese White rabbits. As compared with the non-pregnant group, the following changes were observed in the pregnant group. For blood coagulation-related parameters, fibrinogen, platelets and antithrombin time III (ATIII) was significantly increased on GD 18 and/or GD 28, and activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) was significantly prolonged on GDs 18 and 28. For the other hematological and blood chemical parameters, hemoglobin and hematocrit values were significantly decreased on GDs 18 and 28. Reticulocyte counts significantly and prominently increased on GD 18 and then decreased to significantly lower levels than those in the non-pregnant group on GD 28. Eosinophils and basophil showed significant decreases on GD 18 and/or GD 28. The serum progesterone concentration reached its highest level on GD 18. Total protein (TP), albumin, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), cholesterol, calcium, glucose and blood urea nitrogen were significantly decreased on GD 18 and/or GD 28. These results were almost similar to those in the pregnant New Zealand White rabbits (Mizoguchi et al., 2010).
Treatment with the selective β3-adrenoceptor agonist BRL 37344 increased circulating levels of alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) in mice without causing hepatocellular injury. To clarify whether this was a β3-adrenoceptor-mediated effect, the inhibitory effect of the selective β3-adrenoceptor antagonist SR 59230A on the increase in circulating transaminase levels induced by BRL 37344 was examined. A single intraperitoneal dose of BRL 37344 alone initially increased insulin and non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) dose-proportionally at 0.5 hr post-dose, findings considered attributable to β3-adrenoceptor-stimulating effects. Levels of the gluconeogenic precursors pyruvate (PA) and lactate (LA) were increased corresponding to the change in insulin. Thereafter, glucose (GLU) level was decreased at 4 and 8 hr post-dose, suggesting disruption of glucose homeostasis. In association with these changes in glucose metabolism, transaminase levels were increased maximally at 4 hr post-dose. The transaminase changes were not accompanied by increases in circulating levels of other hepatocellular enzymes, including guanine deaminase (GUA), glutamate dehydrogenase (GLDH), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), or any morphological hepatocellular injury. Intraperitoneal pre-treatment with SR 59230A partly inhibited the effects of BRL 37344 alone, indicating that the increase in levels of circulating ALT by BRL 37344 was attributable to a β3-adrenoceptor-stimulating effect. In conclusion, the β3-adrenoceptor agonist BRL 37344 was shown to increase circulating transaminase levels in mice accompanied with dynamic changes in glucose metabolism. These findings suggest the possibility that circulating transaminase levels are increased as pharmacological effects of drugs disrupting glucose metabolism, and that hepatotoxic markers should be selected considering these effects to distinguish between acceptable pharmacology and toxicity.
To evaluate the toxicological safety of extract from cultured Lentinula edodes mycelia (L.E.M.), repeated doses (2,000 mg/kg/day) were administered to male and female Wistar rats for 28 days. No mortality or abnormality in the general status or appearance was observed in rats administered L.E.M extract. Body weight and food consumption decreased slightly, particularly in the case of male rats, although the degree of decrease was not as prominent toward the end of administration. Examination of hematology, serum biochemistry, absolute and relative organ weights, autopsy and histopathology revealed only a few statistically significant differences between the treatment and control groups; these differences suggested no clinically significant changes related to toxicity. Consequently, the no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) of L.E.M. extract was considered to be more than 2,000 mg/kg/day under the conditions of the present study.