Humans commonly obtain approximately 80% of external information from vision. Since loss of vision markedly decreases quality of life, risk assessments for visual toxicity of new drugs are extremely important. However, the ICH S4 guideline for nonclinical toxicity study of new drugs only indicates a brief instruction for ophthalmologic examinations, and submitted data for drug approval according only to this guideline are not always considered sufficient in light of ocular toxicity risk assessments. The eye is an assembly of many specialized sub-organs which have specific functions, and its integral maintenance of homeostasis plays an important role of visual function. When only a part of integrity of functions is lost, overall function of the eye might be commonly disturbed. Therefore, understanding of anatomy and physiology of these sub-organs may help know mechanisms of observed ocular changes. In ophthalmologic examinations in nonclinical toxicity studies, it is vital to understand the principles and features of each examination. Comparisons of findings between pre and post drug treatment as well as considerations of species differences, strain differences, age differences, and location/degree of abnormalities are essential. In addition, many kinds of spontaneous ocular findings are well known in experimental animals. To differentiate treatment-related changes from spontaneous findings, mastering basic skills for ophthalmologic examinations and taking advantage of collection of background data are necessary. For ocular toxicity risk assessments, while an evaluation of “sight-threatening” effects is most critical matter, “quality of vision” related findings also should be considered. To extrapolate animal data to human, clinical significances of ocular toxicity findings should be evaluated based on considerations for “species differences”, “safety margins”, “reversibility”, and “risk-benefit balance”. In addition, a detailed recording of features of lesions is also important for an appropriate judgment of clinical significance of ocular findings. For preparation of histopathological specimens, careful sampling of organs and suitable selection of fixatives are important. To accurately orient ocular lesions in the specimen for histopathological examinations, securing close communications prior to necropsy among ophthalmologists, gross necropsy pathologists and histopathology technicians should be effective and helpful. It is impossible to detect all ocular changes in histopathological examinations; that is, there is a limitation in histopathological examinations. Therefore, for ocular toxicity risk assessments, comprehensive evaluation with pathological findings as well as other results of various examinations in toxicity studies should be considered. In conclusion, for ocular toxicity risk assessments, integrated judgments from all examination data in nonclinical toxicity studies are required. To achieve appropriate risk assessments which can be extrapolated to human, close communications and sharing of data regarding the eye are most important among toxicologists, clinical sign investigators, histopathology technicians and pathologists.
The objective of this study was to examine the effects of in utero exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins (polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans (PCDD/F) on thyroid and growth hormone concentrations and growth in 8-year-old children. A total of 56 children (23 boys, 33 girls) were included in the study. All were stratified into high and low PCDD/F + PCB exposure groups based on maternal median indicator PCB and PCDD/F + PCB concentrations during pregnancy. Height, weight, body mass index, and thyroid and growth hormone concentrations were assessed and compared among the different exposure groups. There were no significant effects of indicator PCB or PCDD/F + PCB exposure levels on growth (height, weight, and bone age) among 8-year-old boys or girls. Boys exposed to high PCDD/F + PCB levels had significantly higher thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) concentrations than boys exposed to low levels (P = 0.027). Girls exposed to high PCB levels had significantly lower IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) concentrations than girls exposed to low levels (P = 0.038). Low levels of in utero exposure to PCDD/F+PCB and high indicator PCB levels were significantly associated with reduced serum concentrations of IGFBP-3. High levels of in utero exposure to PCDD/F+PCB plus either high or low indicator PCB levels were significantly associated with increased serum concentrations of growth hormone, T3, T4, and TBG. These findings suggest that the level of in utero exposure to PCBs and dioxins may affect serum concentrations of growth hormone, thyroid hormones, TBG, and IGFBP-3 in 8-year-old children.
Organic-inorganic hybrid molecules, which are composed of an organic structure and metal(s), are indispensable for synthetic chemical reactions; however, their toxicity has been incompletely understood. In the present study, we discovered two cytotoxic organobismuth compounds whose cytotoxicity diminished upon replacement of the intramolecular bismuth atom with an antimony atom. The intracellular accumulation of the organobismuth compounds was much higher than that of the organoantimony compounds with the corresponding organic structures. We also showed that both the organic structure and bismuth atom are required for certain organobismuth compounds to exert their cytotoxic effect, suggesting that the cytotoxicity of such a compound is a result of an interaction between the organic structure and the bismuth atom. The present data suggest that organobismuth compounds with certain molecular structures exhibit cytotoxicity via an interaction between the molecular structure and the bismuth atom, and this cytotoxicity can be diminished by replacing the bismuth atom with an antimony atom, resulting in lower intracellular accumulation.
Oxidative stress is linked to increased risk of gastric cancer (GC). Recent reports have found that hsa-let-7g microRNA (miRNA) has properties of anti-tumor and resistance to damages induced by oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL). Dysregulation of hsa-let-7g was present in GC in vivo and in vitro under exogenous stress. However, we didn’t know whether there are regulatory mechanisms of hsa-let-7g in GC under oxidative stress. This study was aimed at investigating the effects of hsa-let-7g microRNA (miRNA) on GC under oxidative stress. The results showed that H2O2 induced the increase of DNA damage response (DDR) genes (ATM, H2AX and Chk1) and downregulation of hsa-let-7g in GC cells. Further study confirmed Hsa-let-7g caused the apoptosis and loss of proliferation in GC cells exposed to H2O2 associated with repression of DDR system. Yet, we found let-7g didn’t target DDR genes (ATM, H2AX and Chk1) directly. In addition, data revealed hsa-let-7g miRNA increased the sensitivity of GC to X-rays involving in ATM regulation as well according to application of X-rays (another DDR inducer). In conclusion, Hsa-let-7g miRNA increased the sensitivity of GC to oxidative stress by repression activation of DDR indirectly. Let-7g improved the effects of X-rays on GC cells involving in DDR regulation as well.
Our in vitro characterization showed that physiological concentrations of estrogen partially suppressed the IKr channel current in guinea pig ventricular myocytes and the human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) channel currents in CHO-K1 cells regardless of estrogen receptor signaling and revealed that the partially suppressed hERG currents enhanced the sensitivity to the hERG blocker E-4031. To obtain in vivo proof-of-concept data to support the effects of estrogen on cardiac electrophysiology, we here employed an aromatase knockout mouse as an in vivo estrogen-null model and compared the acute effects of E-4031 on cardiac electrophysiological parameters with those in wild-type mice (C57/BL6J) by recording surface electrocardiogram (ECG). The ablation of circulating estrogens blunted the effects of E-4031 on heart rate and QT interval in mice under a denervation condition. Our result provides in vivo proof of principle and demonstrates that endogenous estrogens increase the sensitivity of E-4031 to cardiac electrophysiology.
The therapeutic efficacy of arsenic trioxide (ATO) for treatments of solid tumors is restricted by its drug resistance and chemotoxicity. In this study, we investigated ATO sensitization and detoxification effect of the Poly (ADP ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) inhibitor 4-Amino-1,8-naphthalimide (4AN) in the hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HepG2. We firstly reported that ATO treatment induced the activation of Nuclear factor of κB (NF-κB) and its downstream anti-apoptosis and pro-inflammatory effectors in a PARP-1-dependent manner and thus conferred HepG2 cells with ATO resistance and toxicity. 4AN significantly suppressed the ATO-induced NF-κB activation, which promotes the apoptotic response and alleviates the inflammatory reaction induced by ATO, resulting in sensitization and detoxification against ATO. We also demonstrated that the ATO-induced activation of PARP-1 and NF-κB was closely associated with the oxidative DNA damage mediated by the generated reactive oxygen species (ROS). Furthermore, the attenuation of ATO-induced ROS and the resulting oxidative DNA damage by N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), a potent antioxidant, significantly reduced the activation of PARP-1 and NF-κB in ATO-treated cells. Our study provides novel insights into the mechanism of the PARP-1-mediated NF-κB signaling pathway in ATO resistance and toxicity in anticancer treatments. This study also highlights the application potential of PARP-1 inhibitors in ATO-based anti-cancer treatments and in prevention of NF-κB-mediated therapeutic resistance and toxicity.
Toxic and harmful factors co-exist in the environment; these factors often interact to induce combined toxicity, which is the main focus of toxicological research. Furthermore, a large number of studies have shown that aluminum (Al) and benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) are neurotoxic and target the central nervous system to cause neuronal apoptosis. Because we are exposed to both Al and BaP in the air, water, food, and even medicine, the combined effects of these agents in humans must be examined. The present study examines the ability of Al and BaP co-exposure to intensify neuronal apoptosis. The primary neurons of newborn rats were cultured for 5 days, and cells from the same batch that were growing well were selected and assigned to the blank control group, the solvent control group (DMSO+S9+maltol), BaP groups (10, 40 μmol/L), Al (mal)3 groups (50, 100, 400 μmol/L) and co-exposure groups with different combinations of BaP and Al (mal)3. The cell viabilities indicated that 10 μM BaP or 50 μM Al (mal)3 was mildly toxic, and we selected 10 μM BaP+50 μM Al (mal)3 for subsequent co-exposure experiments. The morphological characteristics of cell apoptosis were much more obvious in the co-exposure group than in the Al-exposed cells or the BaP-exposed cells, as observed with a transmission electron microscope and a fluorescence inverted microscope. The apoptotic rates and caspase-3 activity quantitatively significantly differed between the co-exposure and Al-exposure groups, while the BaP-exposure group did not significantly differ from the control group. These results indicate that Al and BaP co-exposure exert synergistic effects on neuronal cell apoptosis.
To establish and characterize ethylene glycol monomethyl ether (EGME)-induced testicular toxicity model in cynomolgus monkeys, EGME at 0 or 300 mg/kg was administered orally to sexually mature male cynomolgus monkeys (n = 3/group) for 4 consecutive days. Circulating and testicular microRNA (miRNA) profiles in this model were investigated using miRNA microarray or real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR methods. EGME at 300 mg/kg induced testicular toxicity in all the monkeys, which was characterized histopathologically by decreases in pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids, without any severe changes in general conditions or clinical pathology. In microarray analysis, 16 down-regulated and 347 up-regulated miRNAs were detected in the testis, and 326 down-regulated but no up-regulated miRNAs were detected in plasma. Interestingly, miR-1228 and miR-2861 were identified as abundant miRNAs in plasma and the testis of control animals, associated presumably with apoptosis and cell differentiation, respectively, and were prominently increased in the testis of EGME-treated animals, reflecting the recovery from EGME-induced testicular damages via stimulating cell proliferation and differentiation of sperm. Furthermore, down-regulation of miR-34b-5p and miR-449a, which are enriched in meiotic cells like pachytene spermatocytes, was obvious in the testis, suggesting that these spermatogenic cells were damaged by the EGME treatment. In conclusion, EGME-induced testicular toxicity in cynomolgus monkeys was shown, and this model would be useful for investigating the mechanism of EGME-induced testicular toxicity and identifying testicular biomarkers. Additionally, testicular miR-34b-5p and miR-449a were suggested to be involved in damage of pachytene spermatocytes.
Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is a carcinogenic heavy metal that is reduced to intermediate oxidation states, such as Cr(V) and Cr(IV), in the process of forming stable Cr(III) forms; it is these intermediate forms that are thought to be responsible for much of the DNA damage and mutations that are induced by Cr(VI). Metallothionein (MT), a heavy metal-binding protein, is induced by zinc and other heavy metals and protects cells from the toxic effects of these metals by sequestering them. MT cannot bind Cr, but by scavenging reactive oxygen species through its cysteine residues, it may act as a protective factor against Cr(VI)-induced DNA lesions by reducing Cr(VI) directly to Cr(III), thereby avoiding the creation of the toxic intermediates. Here, we showed that Zn deficiency decreased MT expression in BALB/3T3 clone A31-1-1 cells and caused them to become highly susceptible to Cr(VI)-induced transformation. To obtain Zn-deficient cultures, cells were cultured in medium supplemented with 10% Chelex®-100 chelating resin-treated FBS. The increase in susceptibility to transformation was abolished by culturing the cells with supplemental Zn (50 µM). Previously, we reported that Cr(VI) inhibits MT transcription by preventing the zinc-dependent formation of a complex of metal response element-binding transcription factor-1 (MTF-1) and the co-activator p300. Our results suggest that the carcinogenicity of Cr(VI) is enhanced by MTF-1 dysfunction.
In recent years, attention has been paid to innate immune systems as mechanisms to initiate or promote drug-induced liver injury (DILI). Kupffer cells are hepatic resident macrophages and might be involved in the pathogenesis of DILI by release of pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators such as cytokines, chemokines, reactive oxygen species, and/or nitric oxides. The purpose of this study was to investigate alterations in mediator levels induced by hepatotoxic compounds in isolated Kupffer cells and discuss the relation between balance of each cytokine or chemokine and potential of innate immune-mediated DILI. Primary cultured rat Kupffer cells were treated with hepatotoxic (acetaminophen, troglitazone, trovafloxacin) or non-hepatotoxic (pioglitazone, levofloxacin) compounds with or without lipopolysaccharide (LPS). After 24 hr treatment, cell supernatants were collected and various levels of mediators released by Kupffer cells were examined. Although hepatotoxicants had no effect on the LPS-induced tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) secretion, they enhanced the release of pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) and suppressed the anti-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) induced by LPS. These cytokine shifts were not associated with switching the phenotypes of M1 and M2 macrophages in Kupffer cells. In conclusion, the present study suggested that the levels of some specific cytokines are affected by DILI-related drugs with LPS stimulation, and imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, induced by the up-regulation of IL-1β and the down-regulation of IL-6 or IL-10, plays a key role in innate immune-mediated DILI.
Recently, we established a biotin-PEAC5-maleimide (BPM)-labeling assay, which can be used to determine the modification of electrophilic metals to proteins (Toyama et al., J. Toxicol. Sci., 38, 477-484, 2013). In the present study, we applied a BPM-labeling assay to detect protein S-modification by environmental organic electrophiles. After exposing A431 cells to 1,2-naphthoquinone (1,2-NQ) and 1,4-naphthoquinone (1,4-NQ), there was an inverse correlation between Western blot analysis with specific antibody against these electrophiles and that with BPM on the blot intensity to detect protein modification. Similar results were also observed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with BPM. Modification of proteins in mouse liver cytosol by 5-hydroxy-1,4-NQ, 5,8-dihydroxy-1,4-NQ, 1,4-benzoquinone (1,4-BQ), tert-butyl-1,4-BQ, and N-acetyl-p-benzoquinoneimine, an electrophilic metabolite of acetaminophen, was detected using ELISA, but not non-electrophilic quinones or hydroquinone. We also tested whether ELISA could be used to detect electrophiles contained in the vapor phase of ambient air samples collected in the midtown area of Los Angeles. Taken together, the results suggested that the ELISA, developed in this study, can detect the existence of electrophilic quinones that covalently modify cellular proteins, resulting in modulation of redox-signal transduction pathways or cell damage.
It is well-known that indomethacin (the cyclooxygenase 1 & 2 inhibitor) and RU486 (or mifepristone, the progesterone receptor antagonist) block follicular rupture in rats. To characterize genetic alterations in unruptured follicles, gene expression profiles in ovarian follicle were analyzed in indomethacin- and RU486-treated female Sprague-Dawley rats. Ovaries are collected at 22:00 on the proestrus day and 10:00 on the following estrus day after a single dose of indomethacin and RU486. Histopathologically, changes depicting responses to LH surge were observed in ovaries, uteri and vagina. Total RNA was extracted from pre-ovulatory follicles or unruptured follicles collected by laser microdissection and analyzed by Genechip®. Among genes showing statistically significant changes compared to control groups, following changes were considered relevant to induction of unruptured follicles. In indomethacin-treated rats, Wnt4 was down-regulated, suggesting effect on tissue integrity and steroid genesis. In RU486-treated rats, Adamts1, Adamts9, Edn2, Ednra, Lyve1, Plat, and Pparg were down-regulated. These changes suggest effects on proteolysis for extra cellular matrix or surrounding tissue (Adamts1 & 9, and Plat), constriction of smooth muscle surrounding follicles (Edn2, Ednra, and Pparg), follicular fluid (Lyve1), and angiogenesis (Pparg). Down-regulation of angiogenesis related genes (Angpt2, Hmox1, and Vegfa) was observed in both treatment groups. Here, we clarify genetic alterations induced by the inhibition of cyclooxygenase or progesterone receptor.
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