3-Monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD) is a heat-induced food contaminant that has been shown to be a nongenotoxic renal carcinogen. Although the toxicity of 3-MCPD has been widely investigated for decades, there is a further concern that 3-MCPD might exert more potent toxicity in high-risk population with underlying diseases such as hyperlipidemia associated with obesity. In the present study, we performed a 13-week subchronic toxicity study for 3-MCPD using an obesity rat model to investigate the differences in susceptibility between obese and normal individuals. Male F344 and obese Zucker (lean and fatty) rats were administered 0, 9, 28.5, 90, 285, or 900 ppm 3-MCPD in drinking water for 13 weeks. 3-MCPD treatment decreased body weight gain, increased relative kidney weights, induced anemia, and induced epithelial cell necrosis in epididymal ducts in all 3 strains. The degrees of epididymal damage were higher in F344 and lean rats than in fatty rats, while renal toxicity was most potent in F344 rats and comparable in lean and fatty rats. In contrast, the hematology data indicated that anemia was worse in fatty rats than in F344 and lean rats, and a significant decrease in hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow was observed only in fatty rats. The no-observed-adverse-effect level was estimated to be 28.5 ppm in all 3 strains for 3-MCPD. These results suggested that obese Zucker rats may be more susceptible to 3-MCPD-dependent toxicity in the hematopoietic tissues than their lean counterparts.
Our previous studies demonstrated that treating pregnant rats with dioxins, including 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), targets the pituitary expression of luteinizing hormone (LH) to attenuate testicular steroidogenesis in fetuses, resulting in the imprinting of sexual immaturity of the offspring after reaching maturity. Furthermore, we found that although TCDD disturbs the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle in the fetal hypothalamus, maternal co-treatment with α-lipoic acid (α-LA), a cofactor of the TCA cycle, restores a TCDD-produced reduction in the LH-evoked steroidogenesis as well as the TCA cycle activity in fetuses. However, the mechanism underlying the beneficial effect of α-LA remains to be fully elucidated. To address this issue, we compared the effect of α-LA with that of thiamine, another cofactor of the TCA cycle. As with α-LA, supplying thiamine to dams exposed to TCDD alleviates the reduced level of not only hypothalamic ATP but also pituitary LH and testicular steroidogenic protein in fetuses. However, thiamine had a much weaker effect than α-LA. In agreement with ATP attenuation, TCDD activated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a negative regulator of LH production, whereas the supplementation of α-LA allowed recovery from this defect. Furthermore, α-LA restored the TCDD-produced reduction in the pituitary expression of the receptor for gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), an upstream regulator of LH synthesis. These results suggest that α-LA rescues TCDD-produced attenuation during fetal steroidogenesis due not only to facilitation of energy production through the TCA cycle but also through suppression of AMPK activation, and the pituitary GnRH receptor may serve as a mediator of these effects.
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) avidly binds dioxin, a ubiquitous environmental contaminant. Disruption of downstream AhR signaling has been reported to alter neuronal development, and rodent offspring exposed to dioxin during gestation and lactation showed abnormalities in learning and memory, emotion, and social behavior. However, the mechanism behind the disrupted AhR signaling and developmental neurotoxicity induced by xenobiotic ligands remains elusive. Therefore, we studied how excessive AhR activation affects neuronal migration in the hippocampal CA1 region of the developing mouse brain. We transfected constitutively active (CA)-AhR, AhR, or control vector plasmids into neurons via in utero electroporation on gestational day 14 and analyzed neuronal positioning in the hippocampal CA1 region of offspring on postnatal day 14. CA-AhR transfection affected neuronal positioning, whereas no change was observed in AhR-transfected or control hippocampus. These results suggest that constitutively activated AhR signaling disrupts neuronal migration during hippocampal development. Further studies are needed to investigate whether such developmental disruption in the hippocampus leads to the abnormal cognition and behavior of rodent offspring upon maternal exposure to AhR xenobiotic ligands.
This study sought to clarify the effects of reduced feeding on physiological parameters in dogs to enable appropriate evaluations of the safety and toxicity of test compounds. We measured alkaline phosphatase isozymes and the circulating blood volume, as well as clinical signs, body weight, hematology, blood chemistry, electrocardiography, organ weight, and histopathology, in male beagle dogs fed a diet consisting of 300 g/day or 150 g/day for 4 weeks. There were no abnormal clinical signs in any of the dogs. In the 150-g/day feeding group, a decreased alkaline phosphatase 3 suggesting effects on the bone and a decreased circulating blood volume associated with body weight loss were observed. Additionally, the following changes were also observed in the 150-g/day group: a decrease in body weight; hematologic changes including decreases in white blood cells, neutrophils, red blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit and reticulocytes; blood chemical changes including decreases in aspartate aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase and calcium and an increase in the creatinine at week 1 or thereafter; electrocardiographic changes including a decrease in the heart rate, a prolonged QRS duration and the occurrence of a second-degree atrioventricular block at week 3 or thereafter; and pathological changes including decreases in the weights of the liver and thymus, a decrease in hepatocyte rarefaction, and thymic atrophy. These results provide useful information for assessing the safety of compounds in toxicological studies, enabling direct treatment effects and secondary changes caused by decreased food intake to be distinguished.
3-Chloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD) is a heat-produced contaminant formed during the preparation of soy sauce worldwide. The present investigation was conducted to determine the molecular aspects of 3-MCPD toxicity on human embryonic kidney cells (HEK293). Cell viability and apoptosis were assessed in response to exposure to 3-MCPD using the MTT assay and high-content screening (HCS). DNA damage, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and apoptosis-related proteins were evaluated. Genes related with apoptosis were detected by qPCR-array for further understanding the 3-MCPD induced cell apoptosis signaling pathway. Our results clearly showed that 3-MCPD treatment inhibits cell proliferation and reactive oxygen species generation. qPCR-array indicated that nine apoptotic genes were up-regulated more than 2-fold and six down-regulated more than 2-fold. Genes associated with the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway, especially BCL2 family genes, changed significantly, indicating that the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway is activated. Death receptor pathway-related genes, TNFRSF11B and TNFRSF1A, changed significantly, indicating that the death receptor pathway is also activated, resulting in the inhibition of cell growth and proliferation as well as induction of apoptosis. To sum up, the experiment results indicated that 3-MCPD induced HEK293 cell toxicity through the death receptor pathway and mitochondrial pathway.
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a Gram-negative bacterial outer membrane component, is one of the major causes of septic shock. Herein we investigate LPS-induced apoptosis of rat alveolar epithelial type II cells (AEC II) and the effects of LPS on surfactant protein-C (SP-C) expression in AEC II, along with the possible molecular mechanisms. LPS exposure impaired cell viability and increased apoptosis of AEC II significantly in concentration-dependent manner embodied in increased caspase-3 expression and the activity of caspase-3. Simultaneously, our results also indicated that LPS inhibited surfactant protein-C (SP-C) expression in AEC II. Mechanistic studies revealed that LPS treatment significantly increased the expression of NF-κB p50, NF-κB p65 and IKKβ proteins as well as induced IκB-α phosphorylation. Moreover, pretreatment with IKK inhibitor IKK-16 or NF-κB inhibitor PDTC ameliorated LPS-caused alterations in cleaved caspase-3 expression, the activity of caspase-3 and SP-C expression. Taken together, these results demonstrate that LPS can induce apoptosis of AEC II and decrease SP-C expression partly through activating the NF-κB pathway.
Methamphetamine (METH) is a neurotoxic drug that causes brain damage by inducing neuronal and glial cell death together with glial cell hyperactivity-mediated progressive neurodegeneration. Previous studies have shown that METH induced glial cell hyperactivity and death via oxidative stress, the inflammatory response, and endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress) mechanisms, and melatonin could reverse these effects. However, the exact mechanism of the protective role of melatonin in METH-mediated ER stress has not been understood. This study investigated the protective effect of melatonin against METH toxicity-mediated ER stress in glial cells. Our study demonstrated that METH increased glial cell toxicity related to METH-induced ER stress by stimulating the unfolded protein response (UPR) to activate the expression of ER stress transducers, including phosphorylated double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase (PKR)-like ER kinase (p-PERK), activating transcription factor (ATF6), and phosphorylated inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (p-IRE1). Moreover, the expression of binding immunoglobulin protein (Bip), CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP), caspase-12, phosphorylated eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 alpha (p-eIF2α) and spliced X-box-binding protein-1 (XBP-1) mRNA were also increased. Melatonin reduced ER stress induced by METH toxicity by reducing the expression of ER stress response genes and proteins in a concentration-dependent manner. In addition, melatonin promoted the expression of Bip chaperone in a concentration-dependent manner. Taken together, our findings suggest that melatonin can protect against ER stress-induced glial cell death induced by METH.
Species-specific differences in the hepatotoxicity of acetaminophen (APAP) have been shown. To establish a monkey model of APAP-induced hepatotoxicity, which has not been previously reported, APAP at doses up to 2,000 mg/kg was administered orally to fasting male and female cynomolgus monkeys (n = 3-5/group) pretreated intravenously with or without 300 mg/kg of the glutathione biosynthesis inhibitor, L-buthionine-(S,R)-sulfoximine (BSO). In all the animals, APAP at 2,000 mg/kg with BSO but not without BSO induced hepatotoxicity, which was characterized histopathologically by centrilobular necrosis and vacuolation of hepatocytes. Plasma levels of APAP and its reactive metabolite N-acethyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI) increased 4 to 7 hr after the APAP treatment. The mean Cmax level of APAP at 2,000 mg/kg with BSO was approximately 200 µg/mL, which was comparable to high-risk cutoff value of the Rumack-Matthew nomogram. Interestingly, plasma alanine aminotransferase (ALT) did not change until 7 hr and increased 24 hr or later after the APAP treatment, indicating that this phenotypic outcome was similar to that in humans. In addition, circulating liver-specific miR-122 and miR-192 levels also increased 24 hr or later compared with ALT, suggesting that circulating miR-122 and miR-192 may serve as potential biomarkers to detect hepatotoxicity in cynomolgus monkeys. These results suggest that the hepatotoxicity induced by APAP in the monkey model shown here was translatable to humans in terms of toxicokinetics and its toxic nature, and this model would be useful to investigate mechanisms of drug-induced liver injury and also potential translational biomarkers in humans.
Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element and is regarded as a protective agent against cancer. In particular, antioxidant effects of selenoenzymes contribute to cancer prevention. Se can also produce reactive oxygen species and, thereby, exert cancer-selective cytotoxicity. Selenodiglutathione (SDG) is a primary Se metabolite conjugated to two glutathione (GSH) moieties. SDG increases intracellular Se accumulation and is more toxic than selenous acid (H2SeO3), but the mechanisms for importing Se compounds into cells are not fully understood. Here, we propose a novel mechanism for importing Se, in the form of SDG. Cellular intake of Se compounds was assessed based on Se accumulation, as detected by ICP-MS. SDG incorporation was decreased in the presence of thiols (GSH, cysteine or their oxidized forms, GSSG and cystine), whereas H2SeO3 uptake was increased by addition of GSH or cysteine. Cellular SDG uptake was decreased by pretreatment with specific inhibitors against gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) or the cystine/glutamate antiporter (system xc-). Furthermore, siRNA against xCT, which is the light chain component of system xc-, significantly decreased SDG incorporation. These data suggest an involvement of SDG in Se incorporation, with SDG processed at the cell surface by GGT, leading to formation of selenodicysteine which, in turn, is likely to be imported via xCT. Because GGT and xCT are highly expressed in cancer cells, these mechanisms mediated by the cystine transporter might underlie the cancer-selective toxicity of Se. In addition, the system described in our study appears to represent a physiological transport mechanism for the essential element Se.
We tried to establish the halothane-anesthetized microminipigs as an alternative animal model for non-clinical toxicity and/or safety pharmacology studies. In order to characterize the halothane-anesthetized microminipigs, we firstly clarified the effects of halothane anesthesia on their cardiovascular system (n = 5). Then, we examined the cardiovascular effects of dl-sotalol in doses of 0.1, 0.3 and 1 mg/kg, i.v. on the halothane-anesthetized microminipigs (n = 6). Induction of the halothane anesthesia by itself prolonged the QT interval as well as QTcF, suggesting that the halothane anesthesia can reduce the cardiac repolarization reserve in microminipigs like in dogs. dl-Sotalol showed more potent negative chronotropic, dromotropic and hypotensive effects together with repolarization delay in microminipigs than in dogs, although each cardiovascular response to dl-sotalol was directionally similar between them, suggesting greater basal sympathetic tone and/or smaller volume of distribution of the drug in microminipigs than in dogs. Analyses of proarrhythmic surrogate markers indicate that Tpeak-Tend and short-term variability of QT interval may be more sensitive to detect the dl-sotalol-induced direct electrophysiological changes in microminipigs than in dogs, but its reverse will be true for J-Tpeakc. Thus, these results may help better understand the drug-induced cardiovascular responses in microminipigs.
Cadmium contamination still occurs in some parts of the world, and its concentrations in the environment are monitored in most countries due to its adverse effects on human health. We herein established yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) reporter assay strains carrying plasmids with the yeast JLP1, SEO1, and CUP1 promoters connected to the bacterial lacZ reporter gene. The strain carrying the high-copy number pESC-JLP1-lacZ reporter plasmid was more responsive to cadmium than strains with other reporter plasmids. This JLP1-lacZ reporter assay strain will be useful for monitoring cadmium contamination in environmental water and soil as a first screening tool preceding official instrumental analyses, because the assay is rapid, easy to handle, and has the ability to process a large number of samples at a low cost.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a Food and Drug Administration authorized method for cancer treatment, which uses photosensitizer and laser photo-irradiation to generate reactive oxygen species to induce cell death in tumors. Photosensitizers have been progressively developed, from first to third generation, with improvements in cell specificity, reduced side effects and toxicity, increased sensitivity for irradiation and reduced persistence of photosensitizer in healthy cells. These improvements have been achieved by basic comparative experiments between current and novel photosensitizers using cell lines; however, photosensitizers should be carefully evaluated because they may have cell type specificity. In the present study, we compared a third-generation photosensitizer, β-mannose-conjugated chlorin (β-M-chlorin), with the second generation, talaporfin sodium (NPe6), using seven different rat and human cell lines and a neuronal/glial primary culture prepared from rat embryos. NPe6 was more effective than β-M-chlorin in human-derived cell lines, and β-M-chlorin was more effective than NPe6 in rat primary cultures and rat-derived cell lines, except for the rat pheochromocytoma cell line, PC12. These differences of phototoxicity in different cell types are not because of differences in photosensitivity between the photosensitizers, but rather are associated with different distribution and accumulation rates in the different cell types. These data suggest that evaluation of photosensitizers for PDT should be carried out using as large a variety of cell types as possible because each photosensitizer may have cell type specificity.