Recently, a cooking appliance based on the principle of electromagnetic induction has come to be used domestically on a widespread basis; this induction heating cooking hob mainly generates intermediate-frequency magnetic fields (IF-MF). However, whether electromagnetic fields originating from household appliances represent a health risk remains uncertain. We investigated the effect of IF-MF on the expressions of memory function-related genes and related transduction molecules in the mouse hippocampus. Male and female C57BL/6J mice were allotted to a control (sham-exposed), an exposure, or a recovery (one week after exposure) group and were exposed to IF-MF (21 kHz, 3.8 mT) one hour per day for 2 weeks. Twenty-four hour after final exposure, the expression levels of memory function-related genes and the mRNA levels for signal transduction pathway molecules in the hippocampi were examined using real-time RT-PCR. The relative mRNA expression levels of the N-methyl-D aspartate (NMDA) receptor subunits NR1, NR2A, and NR2B as well as transcription factors (calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMK) -IV, cyclic AMP responsive element binding protein (CREB) -1) and neurotrophins (nerve growth factor (NGF), and brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF)) were not significantly altered in the IF-MF-exposed mice. We also examined the morphology of the hippocampus using a histological analysis, but no changes in the IF-MF-exposed mice were seen. This is the first in vivo study to show that IF-MF exposure did not affect the expression levels of memory function-related genes in the hippocampus of C57BL/6J mice. The present findings suggest that IF-MF exposure may not affect cognitive function in the present animal model.
tert-Butylhydrazine monohydrochloride was daily administered by gavage to groups of Crl:CD (SD)IGS rats at doses of 0 (control), 0.8, 4, or 20 mg/kg/day. Twelve males per group were treated for a total of 42 days from 14 days before mating. Twelve females per group were treated from 14 days before mating to day 4 of lactation throughout the mating and gestation periods. Recovery groups of five males and five non-pregnant females per group were dosed for 42 days followed by a 14-day recovery period. No deaths were observed in any groups of either sex. There were no considerable changes in body weight, food intake, general appearance, functional observations or biochemical analysis. Values of the anemic parameters were decreased in the 20 mg/kg/day males and in all female dose groups. The relative weight of the liver, kidneys and spleen was significantly increased in 20 mg/kg/day females. Histopathological examination showed congestion and hemosiderin deposition in the spleen at 20 mg/kg/day in both sexes, but there were no changes in the liver or kidneys in either sex. Anemic parameters with hemosiderin deposition did not completely recover in the 20 mg/kg/day group in both sexes after the recovery period. As for reproduction, a significant reduction was only observed in the number of corpora lutea at 20 mg/kg/day. It was thus concluded that the LOAEL was 0.8 mg/kg/day based on the decreased values of the anemic parameters of repeated-dose toxicity, and that the NOAEL was 4 mg/kg/day based on the low number of corpora lutea of reproductive/developmental toxicity.
Organophosphates (OPs) are important toxic compounds commonly used for a variety of purposes in agriculture, industry and household settings. It has been well established that the main mechanism of acute toxic action of OP is the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). However, we observed long term deficit after acute subcutaneous exposure to Chlorpyrifos (CPF) even when AChE activity is restored. In fact, besides AChE inhibition, non-AChE targets have also been proposed as an alternative mechanism involved in the acute lethal action and side effects of short or long-term exposure. In this context, our main aim in this research was to establish a dose-response curve of Acylpeptide hydrolase (APH) and AChE regional brain activity after acute CPF administration that could explain these long term effects observed in the literature. Moreover, since available data suggest that long term effects of OPs exposure could involve neuronal cell death, our second aim was to evaluate, assessing by Fluoro-Jade B (FJB) staining, whether CPF produces induced cell death. Our results show that an acute exposure to 250 mg/kg CPF does not induce neuronal death as measured by FJB but produces highest AChE regional brain inhibition after administration. In addition, APH seems to be more sensitive than AChE to CPF exposure because after 31 days of exposure, complete recovery was seen only for APH activity at Frontal Cortex, Cerebellum and Brain Stem.
In order to develop guidelines for setting acute reference doses (ARfDs) for pesticides in Japan, we conducted simulations of ARfD settings based on evaluation reports for 201 pesticides assessed by the Food Safety Commission (FSC) in Japan over the last 8 years. Our conceptual principles were based on the concepts written by Solecki et al. (2005) and were adapted for toxicological data required in Japan. Through this process, we were able to set the ARfDs for over 90% of the 201 pesticides tested. The studies that provided the rationale for ARfD setting were primarily reproductive and developmental toxicity studies, acute neurotoxicity studies, and pharmacology studies. For approximately 30% of the pesticides simulated in the present study, it was not necessary to establish ARfDs. Some of the simulated ARfDs resulting from their endpoints may be conservative estimates, because the evaluation reports were written for acceptable daily intake settings. Thus, it was sometimes difficult to distinguish acute toxic alerts from repeated toxicities. We were unable to set an ARfD for 14 pesticides because of insufficient data on acute toxicities. This could be improved by more complete recordkeeping. Furthermore, we categorized the 201 pesticides by mechanism of action or chemical structure. Our simulation indicates that the conceptual framework presented here can be used as a basis for the development of guidelines on ARfD settings for pesticides in Japan.
In order to investigate the effect of sunlight on the persistence and ecotoxicity of pharmaceuticals contaminating the aquatic environment, we exposed nine pharmaceuticals (acetaminophen (AA), amiodarone (AM), dapsone (DP), dexamethasone (DX), indomethacin (IM), naproxen (NP), phenytoin (PH), raloxifene (RL), and sulindac (SL)) in aqueous media to sunlight and to ultraviolet (UV) irradiation at 254, 302 or 365 nm (UV-C, UV-B or UV-A, respectively). Degradation of the pharmaceuticals was monitored by means of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Sunlight completely degraded AM, DP and DX within 6 hr, and partly degraded the other pharmaceuticals, except AA and PH, which were not degraded. Similar results were obtained with UV-B, while UV-A was less effective (both UV-A and -B are components of sunlight). All the pharmaceuticals were photodegraded by UV-C, which is used for sterilization in sewage treatment plants. Thus, the photodegradation rates of pharmaceuticals are dependent on both chemical structure and the wavelength of UV exposure. Toxicity assay using the luminescent bacteria test (ISO11348) indicated that UV irradiation reduced the toxicity of some pharmaceuticals to aquatic organisms by decreasing their amount (photodegradation) and increased the toxicity of others by generating toxic photoproduct(s). These results indicate the importance of investigating not only parent compounds, but also photoproducts in the risk assessment of pharmaceuticals in aquatic environments.
Crotonaldehyde, a highly electrophilic α, β-unsaturated aldehyde, is a ubiquitous environmental pollutant and a risk factor for multiple respiratory diseases. Crotonaldehyde is highly volatile and hydrophilic, so it is efficiently absorbed in the respiratory tract. Alveolar macrophages are major effector cells of the nonspecific host defence in the lung. The aim of this study was to investigate the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways responsible for cell death of alveolar macrophage induced by crotonaldehyde. Our results show that crotonaldehyde induces apoptosis in alveolar macrophages, as indicated by phosphatidylserine externalization and DNA fragmentation. Pretreatment of alveolar macrophages with N-acetylcysteine, ascorbic acid, α-tocopherol, superoxide dismutase inhibited crotonaldehyde-induced apoptosis. Crotonaldehyde-induced apoptosis was characterized by ROS generation, GSH depletion, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, caspase-3/7 and caspase-9 activation, elevation of intracellular Ca2+ concentration and the increase of p53 expression. Furthermore, pretreatment with either p53 inhibitor pifithrin-α or calcium chelator BAPTA-AM effectively attenuated apoptosis induced by crotonaldehyde. Taken together, our results showed that crotonaldehyde induce apoptosis in alveolar macrophages through intracellular calcium, mitochondria and p53 signaling pathways. These results would help to illustrate the mechanism of toxicity induced by crotonaldehyde and to look for a novel treatment for diseases induced by exposure to crotonaldehyde-rich pollutants such as cigarette smoke.
The oral intubation of chlorpyrifos, an extensively used organophosphate insecticide, was tested for its capability to induce in vivo genotoxic upshot in blood lymphocytes of 24 male and female Wistar rats using biomarker of genotoxicity. Rats were orally administered with daily doses 3 and 12 mg/kg body weight (BW) of chlorpyrifos (CPF). The blood lymphocytes were harvested after 7 and 14 days of treatment and subjected to bi-nucleus (BN), multi-nucleus (MN) and single cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay) to evaluate the extent of DNA damage. Other than BN and MN assay, damage to DNA was assessed through comet length, height, area, head diameter, head DNA percentage and tail DNA percentage along with tail movement. A significant boost was noticed in the frequency of BN cells formation after 12 mg/kg BW CPF treatment. However, the propensity to produce MN cells was significantly more (P ≤ 0.05) in males than that of females. Likewise, the frequency of comet formation, mean comet length, height and area were more (P ≤ 0.05) in males than females even with 12 mg/kgBW. Comet head DNA % and tail length remained non-significant. Olive movement also revealed a significant increase (P ≤ 0.05) in males than females. The study inferred that the CPF can induce DNA damage in both male and female subjects but more pronounced in the male individuals.
Several studies have shown effects of diesel exhaust (DE) on the central nervous system, but the mechanism is unclear. Fetal mice were exposed to whole DE (contains gases and particles) in an inhalation chamber, and cerebrum gene expression changes were examined by gene assay (microarray and quantitative real-time PCR). By microarray, upregulation of Xist, B-raf and Drwms2 were detected. Especially, mRNA expression of Xist was increased in a concentration-dependent manner in male and female mice. Xist (X-inactive specific transcript) is a major effector of the X-inactivation process, and X-linked genes are highly expressed in brain tissue and consistent with a role in brain developments. By quantitative real-time PCR, Tsix (crucial noncoding antisense partner of Xist) and other X-linked genes (Mecp2, Hprt1, and Sts) were examined; Tsix was upregulated, and other X-linked genes were unaffected in the male and female mice. Our findings suggest that exposure to DE increases Xist and Tsix gene expression in utero without influencing X-linked gene expression. An examination of Xist gene expression changes may provide an important biomarker for DE-induced effects. The possibility of avoiding X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) mechanisms by minimizing exposure to DE is expected.
Epidemiological investigations have indicated that aluminum (Al), as an important environmental neurotoxicant, could cause damage to the cognitive function which was closely related with neurodegenerative diseases. Long-term potentiation (LTP) is one form of synaptic plasticity in association with cognitive function. Previous studies have demonstrated that Al impaired early phase long-term potentiation (E-LTP) in vivo and in vitro. However, Al-induced damage to late phase long-term potentiation (L-LTP) has poorly been studied. The present study was designed to observe the effects of subchronic Al exposure on the spatial memory, hippocampus ultrastructure and L-LTP in rats. Pregnant Wistar rats were assigned to four groups. Neonatal rats were exposed to Al by parental lactation from parturition to weaning for 3 weeks and then fed with the distilled water containing 0, 0.2%, 0.4% and 0.6% aluminum chloride (AlCl3) respectively from weaning to postnatal 3 months. The levels of Al in blood and hippocampus were quantitated by atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Morris water maze test was performed to study spatial memory. The induction and maintenance of L-LTP in area of Schaffer collateral- CA1 synapse was recorded by extracellular microelectrode recording technology in hippocampus of experimental rats. Hippocampus was collected for transmission electron microscopy observation. The results showed that the Al concentrations in blood and hippocampus of Al-exposed rats were higher than those of the control rats. Al could impair spatial memory ability of rats. Neuronal and synaptic ultrastructure from Al-exposed rats presented pathological changes; the incidence of L-LTP has a decrease trend while population spike (PS) amplitude was much smaller significantly stimulated by high-frequency stimulation (HFS) in Al-exposed rats. Our findings showed that Al exposure caused spatial memory damage, under which the neuronal and synaptic ultrastructure changes maybe were their morphological basis and the impaired L-LTP of hippocampus could be their electrophysiological basis.
A sensitive urinary biomarker for acute kidney injury (AKI) was investigated in beagle dogs with nephrotoxicity induced by gentamicin. Gentamicin sulphate at 25 or 50 mg/kg was injected (s.c.) for 9 days, and conventional urinalysis, ELISA assay of neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocal (NGAL) in urine, blood chemistry, and pathological examinations were performed. The dog given gentamicin at 25 mg/kg only showed slight deposition of lysosomal granules in the proximal tubular epithelium of the kidneys without any other significant changes even though urinary NGAL was elevated on Day 10 (day of necropsy). In the dog receiving gentamicin at 50 mg/kg, increases in urinary NGAL were observed on Days 3 and 5, and absence of urination, marked increases in serum urea nitrogen and creatinine, enlargement and discoloration of the kidneys with marked necrosis, and swelling of proximal epithelium were observed. In conclusion, urinary NGAL is considered to be a candidate as a sensitive predictable biomarker of AKI in the gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity model in dogs.
The effects of neonatal exposure to low doses of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) on prostatic secretory protein expression were investigated. Male C57BL mice were treated with TCDD at 10, 100, or 1,000 ng/kg body weight at postnatal day (PND) 6. At PND42, the ventral, dorsolateral, and anterior prostatic lobes were dissected and the mRNA expression of prostatic proteins including spermine-binding protein, serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 3, prostate secretory protein 94 (PSP94), immunoglobulin binding protein-like protein (IgGBPLP), experimental autoimmune prostatitis antigen proteins, and peroxiredoxin-6 (Prdx6) was measured by quantitative PCR. There was no significant difference in the weight of the prostatic lobes between the control and TCDD-treated groups. The expression of PSP94 and Prdx6 in the ventral prostate and IgGBPLP in the dorsolateral prostate at PND42 was significantly increased by neonatal TCDD treatment in a dose-dependent manner, while no changes were noted in other prostatic secretions. These data suggest that neonatal exposure to TCDD may have effects on the neonatal differentiation of the prostate and results in the hyper-expression of some prostatic proteins later in life.
DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) are associated with epigenetic regulation of gene expression, and methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2) acts as a long-range regulator of methylated genes. We evaluated the effects of bisphenol A (BPA) on embryonic mouse hypothalamic cells, with particular emphasis on the gene expression of Dnmts (Dnmt1, Dnmt3a, and Dnmt3b) and Mecp2 isoforms. In a dose-dependent (0.02-200 μM BPA) 3-hr experiment, real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction revealed that gene expression of both Dnmts and Mecp2_e2 was affected at 200 μM and that of Mecp2_e1 was affected at > 20 μM. These results suggest that gene expression of Dnmts and Mecp2 are less susceptible to lower doses of BPA in developing hypothalamic cells. However, as BPA concentration increases, this agent has the potential to alter gene expression of key players that provide stability and flexibility of epigenetic gene regulation, which could disrupt the normal development of hypothalamic functions.
Hypothyroidism induced by xenobiotic treatment was analyzed for possible underlying mechanism(s) on the basis of different responses of the thyroid gland and the liver, using a newly-created database of repeated-dose toxicity of 500 chemicals. Two mechanisms are proposed: direct inhibition of thyroid hormone biosynthesis in the thyroid gland, and stimulated degradation of thyroid hormone by induction of hepatic drug-metabolizing enzymes. In the database there were 10 chemicals inducing hypertrophy/hyperplasia of follicular cells in the thyroid gland and having data on thyroid glands. On the basis of the chemical structure and information available in the literature, we judged three chemicals to be typical thioamide derivatives that act directly on the thyroid gland, and the others as non-thioamide derivatives that were unlikely to have any direct action on the thyroid gland. All these chemicals were classified into two groups using the ratios of relative weight increase rate of thyroid gland versus that of the liver. These values were at least 1.7, but 3.2 or more in the most of the cases for thioamide derivatives, and 1.2 or less for non-thioamide derivatives. This background analysis suggests the feasibility of parameter-supported speculation on the possible underlying mechanism when new repeated-dose toxicity data on hypothyroidism becomes available.
Ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes involved in sensitivity to methylmercury in yeast were identified by deletion analysis, which showed that Ubc2- or Ubp13-deficiency conferred resistance to methylmercury. Whi2, which was previously shown to be associated with increased methylmercury toxicity and is intracellularly degraded via the ubiquitin-proteasome system, was expressed at significantly lower levels in Ubc2-deficient yeast than in wild-type yeast. Ubc2/Whi2 double-deficient yeast showed neither an additive nor synergistic increase in methylmercury resistance. Our results indicate that Ubc2 may increase the sensitivity to methylmercury in yeast by inhibiting the proteasomal degradation of Whi2.
To investigate gene(s) being regulated by ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC), we performed DNA microarray analysis of human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells, which are poorly differentiated breast cancer cells, treated with ∆9-THC for 48 hr at an IC50 concentration of approximately 25 µM. Among the highly up-regulated genes (> 10-fold) observed, fatty acid 2-hydroxylase (FA2H) was significantly induced (17.8-fold). Although the physiological role of FA2H has not yet been fully understood, FA2H has been shown to modulate cell differentiation. The results of Oil Red O staining after ∆9-THC exposure showed the distribution of lipid droplets (a sign of the differentiated phenotype) in cells. Taken together, the results obtained here indicate that FA2H is a novel ∆9-THC-regulated gene, and that ∆9-THC induces differentiation signal(s) in poorly differentiated MDA-MB-231 cells.