This study examined the emergence of delayed behavioral effects in offspring mice exposed to low levels of mercury vapor (Hg0) during the lactation period. Female offspring of mice were repeatedly exposed to Hg0 at 0.057 mg/m3, similar to the current threshold value (TLV), for 24 hr until the 20th day postpartum. The behavioral effects were evaluated with locomotor activity in the open field (OPF), learning activity in the passive avoidance response (PA) and spatial learning ability in the Morris water maze (MM) at the ages of 3 and 15 months. Hg0-exposed mice did not differ from controls in the three behavioral measurements at 3 months of age, and no neurobehavioral effects were observed. On the other hand, the mice exhibited significantly more central locomotion in the OPF task when tested at 15 months of age, but no abnormality in other behavioral performance. Immediately after postnatal exposure, the brain mercury concentration of offspring was about 150 times that of the control, in which the concentrations were approximately 0.4 μg/g. The results indicate that mice exposed to Hg0 at concentrations around TLV during the developing period resulted in the emergence of delayed behavioral effects at a later stage in life.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have potential as not only electrical materials but also biomedical devices. However, some findings have been reported indicating that the use of CNTs is accompanied by a risk of the development of certain diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis and pleura mesothelioma; and one of the reasons for this risk may be macrophage cell death. In the present study, to elucidate the mechanism of macrophage cell death by CNTs, we focused on biomembrane damage caused by multi-walled CNTs (MWCNTs). When the distribution of MWCNTs in RAW264 cells was observed under a light microscope, MWCNTs were located on the surface of the plasma membrane; and a portion of them seemed to stick into it. The acute cytotoxicity toward RAW264 cells was examined by performing the LDH cytotoxic test, and LDH release was detected after exposure to 100 μg/ml CNT. To examine the physical damage to biomembranes by CNT exposure, we conducted a calcein release assay using calcein-encapsulated liposomes. The results indicated that an increase in the permeability of the lipid bilayer was induced by MWCNTs. The present study thus demonstrated for the first time that a high concentration of MWCNTs was cytotoxic to macrophages and suggested that the direct physical perturbation of biomembranes by MWCNTs plays a role in this activity.
Exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM) has been associated with the onset of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Diesel exhaust particles (DEP) are major components of ambient PM. We first reported DEP in the central nervous system of offspring utilizing maternal inhalation to diesel exhaust (DE). In addition, we found that the effects of maternal exposure to DE reduced spontaneous motor activity. However, it is still unknown whether maternal exposure to DE affects higher order behavioral function. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the effects of fetal exposure to DE on motor coordination, impulsive behavior and monoaminergic systems in various brain regions. The results of the rotating rod test showed that DE-exposed mice displayed decreased time on the rota rod compared to control mice. However, no changes were detected between the two groups in the hanging test. Furthermore, the cliff avoidance test revealed that DE-exposed mice spent more time in the corner and fell off an inverted glass beaker compared to control mice. High performance liquid chromatography analysis revealed that noradrenaline turnover in the cerebellum was decreased by prenatal exposure to DE, and was significantly increased in the hypothalamus. Dopamine and serotonin levels in various brain regions were also changed by prenatal exposure to DE. Our study found that prenatal exposure to DE alters motor coordination, impulsive behavior and related monoamine levels. Therefore, the present study underscores the role of behavioral changes related to monoamine in response to maternal inhalation of DE.
The catecholaminergic neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine is used to lesion dopaminergic pathways in the experimental animal models of Parkinson’s disease. The present study was aimed to evaluate the combined treatment with bioflavonoid quercetin (QN) and desferrioxamine (DFO) on 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) – induced neurotoxicity in the striatum of rats. Adult, male Sprague - Dawley rats were divided into control, sham lesion, 6-OHDA treated (300 µg, intracisternal), 6-OHDA with QN (50 mg/kg) treated, 6-OHDA with DFO (50 mg/kg) treated and 6-OHDA with QN and DFO treated groups. Striatal dopamine, protein carbonyl content (PCC), glutathione (GSH) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were estimated. There was a significant increase (p < 0.05) in PCC and decrease in dopamine, GSH and SOD level and striatal neuronal number with 6-OHDA treatment. QN and DFO treatment significantly (p < 0.05) reduced these changes showing a significant neuronal protection. Combined treatment has a more significant effect (p < 0.05) in protecting the neurons and increasing the antioxidant enzymes in the striatum. In conclusion, an antioxidant with iron chelator treatment showed a significant neuroprotective effect against 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) by preventing dopaminergic neuronal loss and maintaining the striatal dopamine level.
Although it has been shown that exposure to diesel exhaust (DE) is linked to the induction or exacerbation of respiratory disorders, the major components responsible have not been fully identified. We examined the effects of airway exposure to nanoparticle-rich DE (NR-DE) or DE without particles on allergic pulmonary inflammation in mice. We also investigated the cellular responses to intratracheal instillation of NR-DE particles (NR-DEP). ICR mice inhaled one of four different mixtures (control air, low-concentration DE, high-concentration DE, and high-concentration DE without particles) for 8 weeks in the presence or absence of repeated intratracheal administration of ovalbumin (OVA). In a separate study, NR-DEP and/or OVA were repeatedly administrated intratracheally to mice. High-concentration NR-DE or DE without particles substantially exacerbated OVA-induced eosinophilic airway inflammation. This exacerbation was concomitant with increases in lung levels of Th2 cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-13 and of chemokines such as monocyte chemotactic protein-1. Furthermore, in the presence of allergen, both DE without particles and high-concentration NR-DE strongly enhanced the production and release of myeloperoxidase into the alveolar spaces. Repeated administration of NR-DEP did not substantially affect the allergic asthma. These results strongly suggest that gaseous compounds in NR-DE aggravate murine allergic airway inflammation, mainly via amplification of the Th2 response.
It was recently reported that triclocarban was absorbed significantly from soap used during showering in human subjects and that its Cmax in their whole blood ranged from 23 nM to 530 nM. We revealed that a nanomolar concentration (300 nM) of triclocarban potentiated the cytotoxicity of 300 µM H2O2 in rat thymocytes by using cytometric techniques with appropriate fluorescent probes. Although 300 nM triclocarban did not itself increase the population of dead cells (cell lethality), it facilitated the process of cell death induced by H2O2, resulting in a further increase in the population of dead cells. Nanomolar concentrations (300 nM or higher) of triclocarban significantly decreased the cellular content of nonprotein thiol (glutathione), which has a protective role against oxidative stress. Triclocarban at 300 nM or higher increased the cell vulnerability to oxidative stress. The results may suggest that nanomolar concentration (300 nM or higher) of triclocarban affects some cellular functions although there is no evidence for adverse effects of triclocarban in humans at present.
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a renal carcinogen primarily affecting the S3 segment of proximal tubules in rodents. In our previous study, we reported that OTA induces reporter gene mutations, primarily deletion mutations, in the renal outer medulla (OM), specifically in the S3 segment. In the present study, to identify genes involved in OTA-induced genotoxicity, we conducted a comparative analysis of global gene expression in the renal cortex (COR) and OM of kidneys from gpt delta rats administered OTA at a carcinogenic dose for 4 weeks. Genes associated with DNA damage and DNA damage repair, and cell cycle regulation were site-specifically changed in the OM. Interestingly, genes that were deregulated in the OM possessed molecular functions such as DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair (Rad18, Brip1, and Brcc3), cell cycle progression (Cyce1, Ccna2, and Ccnb1), G2/M arrest in response to DNA damage (Chek1 and Wee1), and p53-associated factors (Phlda3 and Ccng1). Significant increases in the mRNA levels of many of these genes were observed in the OM using real-time RT-PCR. However, genes related to oxidative stress exhibited no differences in either the number or function of altered genes in both the OM and COR. These results suggested that OTA induced DSB and cell cycle progression at the target site. These events other than oxidative stress could trigger genotoxicity leading to OTA-induced renal tumorigenicity.
Recently, we have reported that primary particles from diesel exhaust affect nervous system, immune system, and learning ability in mice. Currently, in vivo and in vitro studies have shown that secondary organic aerosol (SOA) generated from the coal-fired power plant induced adverse effects in lung and heart. However, the effect of SOA on central nervous system is still unknown. In the present study, using potential biomarkers recognized in previous studies of primary particles, we investigated the effect of acute single administration of SOA on the expression levels of various biomarkers in the brain and lung of mice. We generated the SOA by addition of ozone (O3) to the diesel exhaust particle (DEP). Eight-week-old male BALB/c mice were administered DEP or DEP+O3 (SOA) (50 µg/50 µl/mouse) intranasally. Twenty-four hour after acute single exposure to SOA, olfactory bulb, hippocampus and lung from all mice were collected and mRNA expressions of neurological and immunological biomarkers were examined using real-time RT-PCR analysis and histological examination. Proinflammatory cytokines, their transcription factor and neurotrophin mRNA were remarkably increased in lung of mice exposed to SOA but not in the brain. Microarray data showed that changes of the inflammatory reaction and metabolizing enzyme gene cluster were observed in the brain and lung. Our findings suggested that an acute single exposure of SOA does not affect biomarkers in the brain of normal healthy individuals. Our present results also clearly indicate that SOA induces inflammatory responses in the lung by modulating proinflammatory cytokines, transcription factor and inflammatory responsive neurotrophins.
An easy and specific enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) for the determination of metallothinein-3 (MT-3) in experimental animals for the research of heavy metal and chemical toxicity has not been reported yet. Therefore, we have developed a competitive ELISA, using a specific monoclonal antibody raised against human recombinant MT-3 (rMT-3). The epitope mapping of the antibody was conducted using mouse, rat, and human MT-3s and peptide fragments of human MT-3. MT-1/2, MT-3 knock-out (KO) mice and human brain and liver were used for the evaluation of the ELISA. A pretreatment method of the tissue homogenates was also examined.The antibody used for the ELISA had the same cross-reactivity with MT-3 in humans and experimental animals. The human MT- 3 NH2 terminal peptide (Fr. 1-17) was the demonstrated epitope of this antibody. The reactivity of this ELISA in brain homogenate of MT-3 KO mouse was significantly low compared with the wild type and MT-1/2 KO mice. The lowest detection limit of the ELISA was 10 ng/ml and over 80% of the spiked rMT-3 was recovered in the brain homogenate. The assay linearity was intact with a 5-fold dilution in the brain homogenate. The inter- and intra-assay CV was 6.5%, respectively. An effective pretreatment procedure of the tissue homogenate was also established for this MT-3 ELISA. In conclusion, this competitive ELISA is an easy and specific method for measuring the brain MT-3 level in experimental animals.
Thiram is a dithiocarbamate pesticide that causes tibial dyschondroplasia (TD), a growth plate defect, in poultry. Deaths of transitional zone chondrocytes appear to interrupt endochondral bone development leading to the broadening of growth plate. The mechanism of action of thiram on chondrocytes is not well understood. Since proteins play major roles in different aspects of cell’s metabolism, growth, and survival, the objective of this study was to find whether thiram produces proteomic changes that could impair the development of chondrocytes. The chondrocytes, isolated from proximal tibial growth plates, were cultured with or without a sub-lethal concentration of thiram for 48 hr, and the cell proteins were extracted, and subjected to 2-D gel electrophoresis. The gel images were compared and statistically evaluated using Melanie software to identify differentially expressed protein spots. Of a total of 72 identifiable spots 3 were down-regulated and 2 up-regulated in thiram treated chondrocytes. In-gel trypsin digestion of the protein spots followed by their characterization by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of- flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry identified 25 spots comprising of 23 proteins. Two of 3 down-regulated proteins were identified as a heat shock protein 70 (HSP 70) and a GALE (UDP-galactose-4 epimerase) protein isoform I. The up-regulated proteins were Serpin H1, a protein involved in collagen metabolism and a redox sensor NmrA-like (NMRAL) family domain protein-1. Both GALE and NMRAL proteins are implicated in energy metabolism and redox regulation whereas the HSP 70 protects cells against stress, and implicated in chondrocyte hypertrophy, an important event in endochondral bone formation. The failure of chondrocyte protective mechanisms such as associated with protection against cellular stress and energy metabolism appear to be the likely cause for chondrocyte death induced by thiram.
Drug transporters play a pivotal role in the disposition and elimination of a wide variety of organic compounds across the biological membrane of the body. Recent studies have revealed that some drug transporters are involved in drug-induced toxicity. We have previously reported that methotrexate (MTX)-induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis in primary mouse alveolar epithelial cells (MAEC) are more sensitive than primary mouse lung fibroblasts (MLF). In the present study, we investigated the mRNA expression of ABCs, Slco/Slc/Oatp transporters by RT-PCR and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) techniques in mouse lung tissues and primary lung cells. The ABC transporters (Mdr1, Mrp1, 3, 4, 5, and Bcrp) and the Slco/Oatp transporters (Rfc, Oatp1a1, 1a4, 1a5, 1b2, 2a1, 2b1, 3a1, 4c1, and 5a1) were detected in mouse lung tissues, whereassome ABCs, Slcs/Oats, and Slco/Oatps transporters were not expressed in the mouse lung. Additionally, we found that some Abc transporters are expressed predominantly in MLF whereas Mrp3 and Oatp4c1 are expressed predominantly in MAEC. The transport activity of [3H]MTX mediated via MAEC was significantly higher than the MLF-mediated transport. When MLF was treated with MK571, accumulated [3H]MTX significantly increased when compared with MAEC. Thus, our results indicate that depending on the type of cells, several types of drug transporters are expressed in mouse lung tissues. Our results also suggest that MTX-induced fibrosis with cell dysfunction may be caused by the accumulation within the alveolar epithelial cells of MTX in the lung.
This study evaluated the anti-apoptotic activity of fucoxanthin in carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced hepatotoxicity. An in vitro study using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl) 2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay clearly demonstrated an attenuation of CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity with fucoxanthin. This effect was dose-dependent; 25 μM was more effective than 10 μM of fucoxanthin for attenuating the hepatotoxicity induced by 5 mM of CCl4. Acute CCl4-hepatotoxicity in rats, with numerous cells positive for the terminal deoxynucleotidyl - transferase (TdT) -mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-digoxigenin (dUTP) nick-end labeling (TUNEL) stain were seen in the pericentral area of the hepatic lobule. Oral pretreatment of CCl4- injected rats with fucoxanthin significantly reduced hepatocyte apoptosis. Fucoxanthin was immunohistochemically shown to increase heme oxygenase-1 expression in the cultured liver cells of Hc cells and TRL1215 cells. By oral pretreatment of CCl4-injected rats with fucoxanthin, the hepatic heme oxygenase-1 protein levels were significantly increased compared to those not pretreated with fucoxanthin. Heme oxygenase-1 mRNA expression after CCl4 injection was higher in the CCl4+fucoxanthin group than in the CCl4 group, although the difference was not significant. The findings suggest that fucoxanthin attenuates hepatocyte apoptosis through heme oxygenase-1 induction in CCl4-induced acute liver injury.
We previously demonstrated the super-induced expression of the Grin2c gene encoding the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor 2C subunit during the development of liver enlargement with hepatocellular hypertrophy induced by phenobarbital, clofibrate, or piperonyl butoxide. In the present study, we assessed whether or not Grin2c gene expression was induced during the development of chemically induced liver enlargement with hyperplasia. Male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats, stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSPs), and SHRSP’s normotensive control, Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats, were administered lead nitrate (LN) (0.1 mmol/kg, single i.v.), a direct inducer of liver hyperplasia, and changes in the level of Grin2c mRNA in the liver were assessed by real-time RT-PCR. The level of hepatic Grin2c mRNA was significantly higher 6-48 hr after the injection in SD rats (about 30~40- and 70-fold over the control at 6~24 hr and 48 hr, respectively) and in WKY rats (about 20-fold over the control only at 12 hr), but was not significantly higher in SHRSPs. Such differences in LN-induced levels of Grin2c mRNA among SD rats, WKY rats, and SHRSPs were closely correlated with those in the previously reported increase in liver weight 48 hr after LN administration. The present findings suggest that the increase in the level of hepatic Grin2c mRNA relates to development of chemically induced liver enlargement with hyperplasia.
We estimated acute toxicity of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) using two cladoceran species, Ceriodaphnia reticulata and Daphnia magna, and also analyzed its impact on zooplankton community throughout an exposure experiment using small-scale mesocosms. LC50 of B[a]P for C. reticulata and D. magna was 4.3 and 4.7 µg/l, respectively. However, individuals fed with Chlorella showed higher LC50, 6.1 µg/l for C. reticulata and 8.0 µg/l for D. magna. In the exposure experiment, we examined the impact of B[a]P on zooplankton community using conceivable concentrations in the environment (5 and 10 μg/l) using typical zooplankton community in eutrophicated systems. Despite the residence time of B[a]P in the water column was short as < 4 days, application of B[a]P induced decrease of zooplankton abundance. However, the recovery pattern was different among cladocerans and rotifers. Consequently, B[a]P showed insecticide-like impacts, suppressing cladoceran populations and inducing the dominance of rotifers particularly under high concentration (10 μg/l). Results have suggested that, even such short duration of B[a]P in the water body can have impact on zooplankton abundance and community structure. Since B[a]P easily precipitate to the bottom and rapidly disappears from the water body, careful monitoring and further assessment of the potential toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are necessary.
We previously reported that 14-day exposure to 7-chlorinated benz[a]anthracene (7-Cl-BaA), a new environmental pollutant, selectively induced hepatic cytochrome P450 (CYP)1A2 in rats, although treatment with its parent, benz[a]anthracene (BaA), induced CYP1A1, CYP1A2, and CYP1B1. In this study, to better understand the relative contribution of chlorination to the toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), we investigated the organ-specific distributions of 7-Cl-BaA and BaA in F334 rats. After 14 days of oral administration of 7-Cl-BaA or BaA at a concentration of 1 or 10 mg/kg body weight/day, both chemicals were detected in their plasma, which was collected 24 hr after the last administration, even at the lower dosage. Dose-dependent accumulation patterns were observed in the liver, muscle, kidney, spleen, heart, and lung. The 7-Cl-BaA concentrations in the organs were higher than those of the BaA. Furthermore, at the end of the exposure, 7-Cl-BaA specifically regulated several CYP genes in the heart more so than in other organs, although these inductions were not significant in the BaA treatment. 7-Cl-BaA might also stimulate the metabolic pathways of chemicals other than AhR-mediated metabolism, which is specific to normal PAHs, because of the alterations of CYP2J4, CYP4B1, and CYP17A1 expression in rats. In conclusion, our results imply that the chlorination of PAHs may change their organ-specific distribution and consequently alter their toxicological impacts compared to their parent PAHs.
Cadmium (Cd) is one of the endocrine disrupter and is a well-known testicular toxicant. Recently, we reported that Cd-induced mortality was markedly different by injection timing. In this report, we investigated whether severity of testicular toxicity was affected by injection timing of Cd. C57BL/6J mice (male, 7 w) were received single intraperitoneal injection of CdCl2 (4.5 mg/kg) at zeitgeber time 6 (ZT6) or ZT18; these injection timings showed highest (ZT6) or lowest (ZT18) mortality in our previous study (Miura, 2012). After one week of the injection, several parameters for testicular toxicity such as epididymal sperm motility and numbers of sperm head both in cauda epididymidis and testis were measured. At ZT6 injection group, all parameters examined were significantly reduced compared to the control group. However, very interestingly, no significant changes were observed at ZT18 injection group. We obtained similar results by another experiment in which mice were received single subcutaneous injection of CdCl2 (4 or 6 mg/kg) followed by measuring the parameters ten days after the injection. This diurnal variation was not contradictory to the result of the lethal toxicity which we showed earlier. Therefore, our results indicate that the testicular toxicity of Cd is also influenced by the injection timing.
DNA microarray containing 30,000 genes was used to monitor the transcriptional response of the neonatal brain after cadmium (Cd) exposure. C57BL/6J pregnant mice were exposed to Cd (10 ppm) during gestation and lactation via drinking water. In a comparison between the Cd-exposed neonatal brain and control, three genes including transferrin receptor (Tfrc) were up-regulated and one gene was down-regulated.
Although cadmium causes hepatotoxicity, its molecular mechanism is unclear. In the present study, transcriptional responses in the liver of C57BL/6J mice given 50 ppm cadmium as a drinking water for 30 days were evaluated with DNA microarray. Serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activities were not elevated following the administration of cadmium. Cadmium increased the expressions of 2 genes and reduced those of 15 genes in the liver of mice before the leading to hepatotoxicity.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small single-stranded RNAs of 19-25 nucleotides and are important in posttranscriptional regulation of genes. Recently, the role of miRNAs in toxicity incidence is reported to be a regulator of key-stopper of gene expression, however the detailed mechanism of miRNAs is not well known yet. 6-Mercaptopurine (6-MP), the anti-leukemic and immunosuppressive drug, produced teratogenicity and pregnancy loss. We focused on the placenta to evaluate toxicity in embryo/fetal development produced by 6-MP treatment. MiRNA expression in the placenta was analyzed by miRNA microarray. Fifteen miRNAs were upregulated on GD13 and 5 miRNAs were downregulated on GD15 in 6-MP treatment rat placentas. Some miRNAs may have functions in apoptosis (miR-195, miR-21, miR-29c and miR-34a), inflammation (miR-146b), and ischemia (miR-144 and miR-451). In the maternal plasma, expression of miR-144 was significantly reduced by 6-MP treatment when examined by real-time RT-PCR. We determined toxicity-related gene expression in the rat placenta. Gene expression analysis was carried out by DNA oligo microarray using rat placenta total RNAs. Compared between predicted targets of miRNAs and microarray data in 6-MP-treated rat placenta, expressions of hormone receptor genes (estrogen receptor 1; Esr1, progesterone receptor; Pgr, and prolactin receptor; Prlr), xanthine oxidase (Xdh), Slc38a5 and Phlda2 genes were changed. The histopathologically found increase in trophoblastic giant cells and reduced placental growth by 6-MP treatment were well correlated to these gene expressions. These data suggest that some miRNAs may link to toxicological reactions in 6-MP-induced placental toxicity.