Experimental and clinical studies demonstrate that astaxanthin (AXN), a xanthophyll carotenoid, has protective effects against oxidative damage. Because most of these studies assessed AXN derived from Haematococcus pluvialis that were cultivated at industrial scales, few studies have examined the toxicity of AXN derived from Phaffia rhodozyma. To evaluate the safety of astaxanthin-containing P. rhodozymaextract (AXN-PRE), genotoxicity was assessed in bacterial reverse mutation test and mouse bone marrow micronucleus test, and general toxicity was assessed in 4-week repeated oral toxicity study in rats. AXN-PRE did not induce reverse mutations in the Salmonella typhimurium strains TA98 or TA100 at concentrations of 5,000 µg/plate with or without S9 mix, and no chromosome damage was observed at a dose of 2,000 mg/kg in mouse micronucleus test. In the subacute toxicity study, male and female Sprague–Dawley rats were given AXN-PRE at doses of 0, 500, and 1,000 mg/kg by gavage for 4 weeks. Body weights, urinalysis, hematology, serum biochemistry, organ weights, or histopathological lesions indicated no distinct toxicity. In conclusion, AXN-PRE had no effect in bacterial reverse mutation test and mouse bone marrow micronucleus test. The no-observed-adverse-effect level for AXN-PRE in 4-week repeated oral toxicity study in rats was determined to be greater than 1,000 mg/kg (corresponding to dose of 50 mg/kg AXN) regardless of gender.
The widely used antiepileptic drug valproic acid (VPA) is known to exhibit teratogenicity in the form of a failure of the neural tube in humans. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are reported to be a promising cell source for evaluating chemical teratogenicity, because they are capable of reproducing embryonic developmental model and enable reduction in the number of experimental animals used. We previously investigated 22 genes for which expressions are altered by teratogens, specifically focusing on neural differentiation of mouse ESCs. In the present study, expressions of the investigated genes were evaluated by quantitative real-time PCR and compared during differentiation of human ESCs into neurons with or without VPA. Under the conditions, almost all gene expressions significantly changed in VPA-containing culture. Specifically, in neural development-related genes such as DCX, ARX, MAP2, and NNAT, more than 2-fold expression was observed. The findings suggest that the genes focused on in this study may help to elucidate the teratogenic effects of VPA and might be a useful tool to analyze embryotoxic potential of chemicals in humans.
Steroids are treated for most inflammatory diseases but cause serious side effects such as diabetes and osteoporosis after their long-term usage. Recently, we identified novel roles of Substance-P (SP) in the suppression of the injury-mediated inflammation and also in stem cell mobilization. In this study, for clinical application of SP as an anti-inflammatory agent, its safety in long-term usage was evaluated with regard to diabetes and osteoporosis. Dexamethasone (DEX) and methylprednisolone (MP) were used as comparative drugs. While DEX-injection for 24 weeks developed severe weight loss, unstable blood glucose, and bone loss, SP-injection did not affect blood glucose and bone mass. MP-injection for 24 weeks also influenced blood glucose and body weight much milder than DEX-injection. After 66 weeks, MP-injection caused unstable blood glucose, alleviation in the age-related increase of body weight, and bone weakness, which was featured by reduction in collagen deposition and trabecular bone volume based on histological and micro CT analysis. However, SP-injection for 66 weeks rather increased collagen deposition, bone volume, and bone density. Therefore, this comparative study suggests that SP, even after long-term usage of effective dose, may not cause side effects such as osteoporosis in comparison to that of DEX and MP and can be developed as an anti-inflammatory agent and/or stem cell mobilizer for long-term treatment.
Deregulated apoptosis has been associated with many lung diseases. Although many studies have reported the apoptotic effects exhibited by silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) in various circumstances, the apoptosis mechanism of Ag-NPs is unclear. We investigated oxidative stress and apoptosis in human normal bronchial epithelial (BEAS-2B) cells to elucidate the role of p53 in apoptosis by Ag-NPs. First, dispersion and stability of Ag-NPs improved using bronchial epithelial cell growth medium with 5% fetal bovine serum. Then, we observed oxidative stress in BEAS-2B cells exposed to Ag-NPs. Second, we carried out a cell death assay to measure DNA fragmentation as a biomarker of apoptosis. BEAS-2B cells were treated with p53-specific short interfering RNA (siRNA) or p53 inhibitor (pifithrin-α) to investigate whether p53 is involved in apoptosis by Ag-NPs. As a result, Ag-NPs significantly enhanced DNA fragmentation dose-dependently and treatment with p53 siRNA or pifithrin-α prevented DNA fragmentation. We also found that apoptosis-related genes (caspase-3, Bax, and Bcl-2) were regulated by Ag-NPs, which was detected by mRNA and protein levels. These results suggest that Ag-NPs induced p53-mediated apoptosis in BEAS-2B cells. Our findings may contribute to understanding the potential roles of Ag-NPs in pulmonary disease.
Resident macrophages in the liver (Kupffer cells) produce various cytokines and chemokines, and have important roles in hepatitis and liver fibrosis. The cells are activated by various factors, for example lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which is an endotoxin and is high in the blood of patients with liver cirrhosis. Involvement of P2 receptors in the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines from Kupffer cells is little. In this study, we investigated purinergic signaling in the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6 and TNF-α, from liver Kupffer cells of C57BL/6 mice (KUP5 cells). KUP5cells were isolated from C57BL/6 mice and cultivated with Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium. The cells were stimulated with LPS. LPS-induced IL-6 production by KUP5 cells was suppressed significantly by pretreatments with non-selective P2 antagonist suramin, P2Y13antagonist MRS2211, and ecto-nucleotidase, whereas P2Y receptor agonists, significantly increased the IL-6 production. P2Y13knockdown reduced LPS-induced IL-6 production, but by less than 50%. These results would suggest that P2Y receptors including P2Y13and others, may involves in LPS-induced IL-6 production in Kupffer cells, leading to the liver inflammation. Therefore, we first showed the importance of purinergic signaling via P2Y receptors in the activation of Kupffer cells and liver injury, which is worthwhile in drug development for liver diseases.
Chlorpyrifos (CPF) is an organophosphate compound that is slowly delivered in the organism after subcutaneous injection, keeping acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity mildly inhibited for weeks. We have previously reported reduced voluntary ethanol drinking 8 weeks post-CPF administration in Wistar rats when AChE activity was almost completely recovered. Additionally, the OPs disrupt the functioning of certain neurochemical systems and modify the formation and/or degradation of some neuropeptides with a known role in regulating voluntary consumption of alcohol. Moreover, chronic ethanol intake significantly alters the regional expression of some of these neurochemical systems. Thus, the present study explored whether a previous history with ethanol consumption modify the disturbance in the voluntary ethanol consumption induced by CPF administration. For this aim, we measured ethanol consumption in increasing concentrations (8%, 15% and 20% w/v) from 4 days to 8 weeks following a single dose of CPF. Two experiments were carried out; experiment 1 was conducted in ethanol-naïve rats and experiment 2, in animals with a previous history of ethanol drinking before CPF administration. Additionally, food and body weight measures were collected. We report here a significant increase in ethanol consumption and preference at high ethanol concentrations (15% and 20%) in CPF-treated animals with a previous history of ethanol consumption (experiment 1) and a long-lasting increase in food intake both in ethanol-exposed (experiment 1) and ethanol-naïve CPF-treated rats (experiment 2). Present data are discussed under the interesting idea that CPF targets neurobiological pathways critically involved with ethanol consumption. Additionally, we conclude that CPF effects on voluntary ethanol consumption are ethanol-experience dependent.
Recently, the liver micronucleus (MN) assay using young adult rats with repeated administrations has been investigated by employing a new method without partial hepatectomy or in situcollagenase perfusion as the repeated dose liver MN (RDLMN) assay by Narumi et al. (2012). In our study, in order to investigate the possibility of the RDLMN assay using young adult mice instead of rats and the feasibility of employing some genotoxicity assays along with the RDLMN assay as a combination test, two genotoxic carcinogens (N,N-diethylnitrosoamine (DEN) and cisplatin (CIS)) and a nongenotoxic carcinogen (phenobarbital sodium (PHE)) were administered to mice for 15 or 29 days. Then, the liver MN assay, peripheral blood (PB) MN assay and comet assay using the liver and kidney were concurrently performed as a combination test. DEN showed positive responses to all endpoints except MN induction in PB after 15 days of repeat administration. A cross-linking agent, CIS, showed MN induction in liver after 29 days of repeat administration, and in PB after 15 and 29 days of repeat administration, although the comet assay yielded negative responses for both organs at both sampling times. PHE yielded negative responses for all endpoints. In conclusion, it is suggested that the RDLMN assay using mice is a feasible method to be integrated into the general repeated toxicity test along with the combination assays, i.e., comet assay or PB MN assay, which would help in risk assessment for carcinogenicity by comparing the results of combination assays with each other.
Air purifiers, which release positive and negative ions generated by an electric discharge into the air, have been widely used in common households. In this study, the developmental toxicity potential of the ionized air containing positive and negative ions was evaluated in SD rats [Crl:CD(SD)] following whole-body inhalation to obtain preliminary information for the definitive study. Two groups of 10 pregnant female rats were exposed to the ionized air at concentrations of 0 and 7,000,000 ions/cm3 for 6 hr per day from Days 6 to 19 of gestation. All dams underwent a cesarean section on Day 20 of gestation and their fetuses were examined externally, viscerally, and skeletally for morphological changes. The ionized air had no effects on dams in terms of clinical signs, body weight, food consumption, gravid uterine weights, corrected body weight by gravid uterine weight, or necropsy findings. In addition, there were no effects on the maintenance of pregnancy, including abortion or premature delivery. No exposure-related changes were detected in the number of corpora lutea, implantations, dead embryos, or live fetuses, implantation loss, live fetal weights, sex ratio, or placental weight or features. Fetal examination revealed no external, visceral, or skeletal anomalies or variations caused by the ionized air, nor were there any changes in degree of ossification. Although this study did not fully adhere to the current guidelines because of a smaller number of animals per group, it was suggested that the ionized air has no maternal toxicity or embryo-fetal toxicity in rats.
The zebrafish has been considered as a suitable animal model for drug discovery, especially for evaluation of the teratogenicity, due to their small size, rapid development, transparency, and developmental similarities to mammalian development. These features of zebrafish make it possible to maintain them in culture plates, evaluate the teratogenicity in short term, conduct morphological assessment of each organ without any autopsy operation. The purpose of the present study was to improve an evaluation method for the teratogenicity of test compounds with high throughput ability and prediction rateusing zebrafish embryos. In this study, we established a modified evaluation method as using non-dechorionated embryos and observation a limited number of parameters without grading. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to test compounds from 5-6 to 144 hr post-fertilization, (hpf) corresponding to the organogenesis period. Morphological changes or functional abnormalities induced by test compound treatments were assessed and scored at 11 endpoints, and the potential of teratogenicity was judged based on the score. As a validation assay of the system, the potentials of 59 known teratogenic or non-teratogenic test compounds were evaluated using the present standard zebrafish assay, and the teratogenicity was correctly predicted in 90% (53/59) of all compounds with low false negative and false positive rates. These results indicated that the evaluation method using zebrafish for the teratogenicity we have improved was a valuable tool for early stage screening in drug discovery.
Professional exposures to respirable dusts from phosphate mines are associated with the development of an inflammatory response and airways diseases. This study was performed on 12 phosphate workers versus 8 unexposed controls, including smokers and non-smokers. It consisted of assessing the incidence of phosphate dusts exposure associated or not with smoking on the plasmatic inflammatory status of phosphate mine workers versus controls. The following parameters were studied: hematological profile and plasma level of seven cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, tumor necrosis Factor (TNF-α), macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP-1β)) and two eicosanoids (leucotriene B-4 (LTB-4) and 15(S)-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (15(S)-HETE)) measured by a multiplexed flow cytometric method (CBA: Cytometric Bead Array) or ELISA. In phosphate workers, mainly smokers, the level of white blood cells (WBCs) and lymphocytes (LYM) was significantly higher as compared with controls. This was associated with enhanced levels of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, MIP-1β, and LTB-4. In smokers (including phosphate mine workers and controls), the level of LYM was also significantly higher than in controls. Based on a logistic regression analysis, smoker phosphate mine workers have a higher relative risk than controls to have an increase concentration of some cytokines, especially IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, and MIP-1β. Moreover, the combined effect of smoking and phosphate dusts exposure increases the level of leucocytes as well as the concentration of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, MIP1-β, and LTB-4. The present study demonstrates that phosphate dusts are able to trigger a systemic inflammatory reaction characterized by enhanced levels of circulating immunocompetent cells, plasmatic cytokines and eicosanoids, and it establishes that these side effects are enhanced by smoking.
Advances in the synthesis and utilization of new chemical compounds have led to improvements in our daily lives. However, new chemicals may be both beneficial and toxic. Thus, exposure to these new compounds should be restricted in an attempt to limit their potential toxicities. We predicted the safety of three biocides (p-cresol, diazinon and resmethrin) by comparing their skin permeability coefficients and desquamation rate (the counter flux of permeability coefficient for chemical compounds induced by skin turnover) following skin exposure. In vitro skin permeation experiments revealed that the permeability coefficients of diazinon and resmethrin were smaller than the desquamation rate; therefore, these biocides could not permeate the skin, which resulted in very low skin concentrations of these compounds. On the other hand, the skin concentration of p-cresol was high because of its higher permeability coefficient than the desquamation rate. Furthermore, low in vitro cell viability was reported for skin exposed to p-cresol. These results in the present study indicate that the method described herein is useful for predicting the toxicities of chemicals following their topical exposure.
Crotonaldehyde, a highly toxic α, β-unsaturated aldehyde, is a major component of cigarette smoke and a ubiquitous environmental pollutant. Crotonaldehyde exposure is known to have adverse effects on respiratory health, but the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. As alveolar macrophages display important immunological and inflammatory properties in response to extraneous substances in the lung, we aimed at gaining more insight in changes of human macrophage-like cells transcriptome in response to crotonaldehyde. In vitro cultures of human THP-1 cells (a human monocytic leukemia cell line) were differentiated into macrophage-like cells treated by PMA (phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate) and be exposed crotonaldehyde. Using RNA-seq technology such as digital gene expression, the global changes in transcriptional level were analyzed. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was performed to validate RNA-seq data. The differential regulated genes in many biological processes were dysregulated, including in antigen processing and presentation, oxidative stress, inﬂammation, cytokine signaling, and apoptosis. Collectively, our study demonstrated that crotonaldehyde altered gene expression proﬁle in the genome-wide transcriptional level in human macrophage-like cells, and many of them may represent potential mechanisms of crotonaldehyde causing cytotoxicity and tissue injury in the human lung.
The ciliated tracheobronchial epithelium plays an important role in the excretion of inhaled dust. While many reports indicate that inhaled multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) induce inflammation and proliferative changes in the lung and pleura, their effects on the upper airway have not been reported. Two different types of MWCNTs, MWCNT-L (8 µm in length and 150 nm in diameter) and MWCNT-S (3 µm in length and 15 nm in diameter), were examined for their effect on the trachea as well as the bronchus and lung. In vitro, the movement of the cilia of primary tracheal epithelial cells was impaired by treatment with the 2 MWCNTs. Rats were treated with 0.3 ml of a 250 µg/ml suspension of MWCNTs on days 1, 4, and 7, and sacrificed on day 8. Extensive loss of ciliated cells and replacement by flat cells without cilia was observed in the trachea. Deposition of MWCNTs and occasional squamous cell metaplasia were found in the regenerative granulation tissue. The proportion of the lesion to the transverse section of the trachea was vehicle, 0; MWCNT-L, 27.2 ± 10.5; MWCNT-S, 32.1 ± 15.8 (both MWCNTs, p < 0.001 vs vehicle). The amount of cilia showed significant decrease in the MWCNT-L treated rats (p < 0.05). In contrast to the trachea lesions, the number of inflammatory foci in the lung was greater in the MWCNT-S than in the MWCNT-L treated rats. Our results indicate that both MWCNTs caused extensive damage to the ciliated epithelium of the trachea. This damage may prolong the deposition of inhaled MWNCT in the lung.
The effects of mirabegron on plasma gonadotropic and steroidal hormone levels in rats were investigated, when administered orally once daily for two weeks to male and female rats at doses of 10, 30, and 100 mg/kg/day, in order to elucidate a potential mechanism for findings in the reproductive system observed in toxicity studies in rats. Significantly decreased body weight gain and food consumption were observed in males and females at 100 mg/kg/day on Days 1 to 4 of dosing. A significantly prolonged estrous interval was observed in females at 100 mg/kg/day and increased liver weights were noted in females at 30 mg/kg/day or greater. No histopathological changes were observed in the pituitary gland, adrenal glands, liver, testes, epididymides, prostate, seminal vesicle, ovaries, uterus, or vagina at any dose. In males, no treatment-related changes in levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone, or dihydrotestosterone (DHT) were observed at any dose. Corticosterone levels in males increased in a dose-dependent manner at 30 mg/kg/day or greater. In females, no treatment-related changes in levels of LH, FSH, prolactin, estradiol, progesterone, or corticosterone were observed at any dose in any stage of the estrous cycle. Taken together, these results suggest that mirabegron has no effect on gonadotropic or sex steroidal hormone levels in either sex at doses up to 100 mg/kg/day. In contrast, adrenocortical hormone levels were increased in males at mirabegron doses of 30 mg/kg/day or greater.