To identify new candidate biomarkers for skeletal muscle toxicity, an unbiased metabolomic analysis was performed in rats treated with two distinct myotoxicants, cerivastatin (CER) and tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine (TMPD). Skeletal muscle toxicity was induced in male Fischer 344 rats by administering CER or TMPD and monitored using established endpoints, such as increased plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity and histopathology, and a metabolomic analysis of skeletal muscle and plasma samples. Plasma CK levels in CER-treated rats were markedly elevated at Day 11; however, those in TMPD-treated rats showed a statistically significant decrease at 24 hr after dosing. Light microscopy revealed that vacuolated or necrotic fibers were evident in all CER-treated rats on Day 11, and slightly vacuolated fibers were observed in TMPD-treated rats at 6 and 24 hr after dosing. Metabolomic analysis of the rectus femoris indicated increases in 2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG) in CER-treated rats and hexanoylcarnitine in CER- and TMPD-treated rats. There were also increases in plasma 2HG in CER-treated rats on Days 8 and 11 and in TMPD-treated rats at 24 hr after dosing and increases in plasma hexanoylcarnitine in CER-treated rats on Day 11 and in TMPD-treated rats at 6 and 24 hr after dosing. These experiments demonstrated the potential of plasma 2HG and hexanoylcarnitine as specific and easily detectable biomarkers for skeletal muscle toxicity in rats and demonstrated the value of metabolomics for biomarker detection and identification in toxicological studies.
In order to evaluate drug-induced hematotoxicity in monkey cells in vitro, colony-forming unit-granulocyte, macrophage (CFU-GM), and burst-forming unit-erythroid (BFU-E) colony assays were established using mononuclear cells in the bone marrow collected from male cynomolgus monkeys. Furthermore, the effects of doxorubicin, chloramphenicol, and linezolid on CFU-GM and BFU-E colony formation were investigated using established monkey CFU-GM and BFU-E colony assays in comparison with those on human CFU-GM and BFU-E colonies acquired from human umbilical cord blood cells. Bone marrow mononuclear cells were collected from the ischial or iliac bone of male cynomolgus monkeys. The cells were subsequently processed by density gradient separation at 1.067, 1.070, or 1.077 g/mL for CFU-GM or 1.077 g/mL for BFU-E, and then cultured in methylcellulose medium for 9 or 13 days, respectively. A sufficient number of CFU-GM colonies were formed from mononuclear cells processed at a density of 1.070 g/mL. Moreover, the number of BFU-E colonies from the cells processed at a density of 1.077 g/mL was sufficient for the colony assay. The number of CFU-GM or BFU-E colonies decreased after treatment with the drugs of interest in a concentration-dependent manner. Compared with human CFU-GM, monkey CFU-GM were more sensitive to chloramphenicol and resistant to doxorubicin, whereas monkey BFU-E were more sensitive to all compounds in comparison to the sensitivity of human BFU-E. In conclusion, monkey CFU-GM and BFU-E colony assays were established and considered useful tools to evaluate the differences in drug-induced hematotoxicity between species.
We investigated whether in utero or lactational exposure to 4-hydroxy-2',3,3',4',5'-pentachlorobiphenyl (OH-PCB 106) affects spontaneous locomotor activity and motor coordination in young adult male mice. For in utero exposure, pregnant C57BL/6J mice received 0.05 or 0.5 mg/kg body weight of OH-PCB 106 or corn oil vehicle via gavage every second day from gestational day 10 to 18. For lactational exposure, the different groups of dams received 0.05 or 0.5 mg/kg body weight of OH-PCB 106 or corn oil vehicle via gavage every second day from postpartum day 3 to 13. At 6-7 weeks of age, the spontaneous locomotor activities of male offspring were evaluated for a 24-hr continuous session in a home cage and in an open field for 30-min. Motor coordination function on an accelerating rotarod was also measured. Mice exposed prenatally to OH-PCB 106 showed increased spontaneous locomotor activities during the dark phase in the home cage and during the first 10-min in the open field compared with control mice. Mice exposed lactationally to OH-PCB 106, however, did not show a time-dependent decrease in locomotor activity in the open field. Instead, their locomotor activity increased significantly during the second 10-min block. In addition, mice exposed lactationally to OH-PCB 106 displayed impairments in motor coordination in the rotarod test. These results suggest that perinatal exposure to OH-PCB 106 affects motor behaviors in young adult male mice. Depending on the period of exposure, OH-PCB 106 may have different effects on neurobehavioral development.
Phthalate esters (PAEs) are man-made compounds that are used widely in industry, and the ubiquitous exposure of humans to PAEs has been reported. Although some PAEs have been suggested to function as xenoestrogens in in vitro systems, such as human estrogen receptors (ERs) expressed in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO)-K1 cells, few studies have attempted to elucidate whether PAEs affect human ERα/ERβ-mediated signaling in human breast cancer cells (i.e., combination between human ERs and human cells). Thus, further experiments are needed in order to clarify the activities of PAEs. Among the 9 PAEs (carbon# in the side chains: 2-8) investigated, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), dipentyl phthalate (DPENP), and dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP) were found to exhibit strong anti-estrogenic activities in MCF-7 cells (ER-positive) in the presence of 1 nM 17β-estradiol (E2). Since limited information is currently available on DPENP and DCHP, we herein focused on these two PAEs. Experiments using MDA-MB-231 cells (ER-negative) transfected with human ERα or ERβ expression plasmids revealed that DCHP was a markedly stronger anti-estrogenic PAE than DPENP; DCHP inhibited ERα and ERβ activities stimulated by 1 nM E2 with IC50 values of ~5 and 11.2 µM, respectively. Furthermore, DCHP abrogated diarylpropionitrile (DPN)-stimulated ERβ activity with an IC50 value of 5.17 µM, which was approximately 2-fold stronger than that of DPENP (IC50 = 10 µM). The results of the present study suggest that PAEs (DCHP) function not only as an anti-estrogen for ERα, but also for ERβ, at least in human breast cancer cell lines.
Cholestasis is one of the major causes of drug-induced liver injury (DILI), which can result in withdrawal of approved drugs from the market. Early identification of cholestatic drugs is difficult due to the complex mechanisms involved. In order to develop a strategy for mechanism-based risk assessment of cholestatic drugs, we analyzed gene expression data obtained from the livers of rats that had been orally administered with 12 known cholestatic compounds repeatedly for 28 days at three dose levels. Qualitative analyses were performed using two statistical approaches (hierarchical clustering and principle component analysis), in addition to pathway analysis. The transcriptional benchmark dose (tBMD) and tBMD 95% lower limit (tBMDL) were used for quantitative analyses, which revealed three compound sub-groups that produced different types of differential gene expression; these groups of genes were mainly involved in inflammation, cholesterol biosynthesis, and oxidative stress. Furthermore, the tBMDL values for each test compound were in good agreement with the relevant no observed adverse effect level. These results indicate that our novel strategy for drug safety evaluation using mechanism-based classification and tBMDL would facilitate the application of toxicogenomics for risk assessment of cholestatic DILI.
Lung cancer, mostly non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), is the leading cause of cancer deaths; however, efficient treatments for NSCLC remain insufficient. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation on autophagic cell death in human lung adenocarcinoma cells by 20-nm zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONP20) and aluminum-doped ZnONPs (Al-ZnONP20). Two types of human lung adenocarcinoma cells were used throughout the study: wild-type EGFR A549 cells and EGFR-mutated CL1-5 cells. We observed that a significant reduction in cell viability resulting from ZnONP20 and Al-ZnONP20 occurred in A549 and CL1-5 cells after 18 and 24 hr of exposure. A colony formation analysis showed that A549 cells re-grew after exposure to 20 μg/mL Al-ZnONP20. Levels of light chain 3 (LC3) II conversion were activated by ZnONP20 and Al-ZnONP20 in A549 cells, whereas LC3 II was inhibited by ZnONP20 and Al-ZnONP20 in CL1-5 cells. In conclusion, we have shown that human lung adenocarcinoma cells with an EGFR mutation are sensitive to ZnONP20 and Al-ZnONP20, which may have resulted in non-autophagic cell death. ZnONP20 and Al-ZnONP20 may have the potential for personalized therapeutics in NSCLC with an EGFR mutation.
Recently, a novel culture system consisting of primary hepatocytes structured over a network of endothelial cells on the Engelbreth-Holm-Swarm (EHS) gel has been reported. This in vitro liver model on the EHS gel (IVLEHS) has been shown to maintain the expression of hepatic genes and their functional activity. Moreover, the IVLEHS was more sensitive to xenobiotics than hepatocyte monocultures, suggesting the potential utility of this culture system for compound hepatotoxicity screening. However, the effect of this three-dimensional structure formation on the cellular metabolic profile of hepatocytes in the IVLEHS is not well understood. To address this concern, we performed metabolome analysis using capillary electrophoresis-time of flight mass spectrometry. Between the IVLEHS and mono-cultured hepatocytes on the EHS gel, there was no significant difference in the levels of metabolites of the urea cycle and the tricarboxylic acid cycle, essential amino acids, and adenylate energy charge (AEC) which is an important indicator of cellular energy status. On the other hand, acetaminophen-dependent decrease of the AEC in the IVLEHS was greater than that in the monoculture, suggesting the higher sensitivity of IVLEHS to acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity which is caused by metabolic activation of this drug. Further analysis showed that the levels of taurocholate, one of the major conjugated bile acids, were higher in the IVLEHS than in the monoculture. Considering that the construction of the IVLEHS did not seem to disturb the major cellular metabolism, our findings would strengthen the concept that IVLEHS would have beneficial effects on the maintenance of hepatic functions.
Fish hepatobiliary syndrome, characterized by hepatomegaly and fatty liver, has been frequently reported in many cultured fish species and has caused a dramatic economic loss in China. Glucocorticoids are thought to be important non-nutritional factors for hepatomegaly and fatty liver development. In the present study, a dexamethasone-induced zebrafish model of fatty liver and hepatomegaly was established, and the role of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) in the development of hepatomegaly and fatty liver was investigated using developing zebrafish. Exposure of larval zebrafish at 5 days post fertilization (dpf) to dexamethasone for 24 hr caused significant increases of liver size and number of fish with hepatic steatosis at 6 dpf. The increase of liver size caused by dexamethasone was significantly reversed by treatment with RU486, a GR antagonist, and by gene knock-down with a morpholino against the GR. The dexamethasone-induced hepatic steatosis was also inhibited by treatment with RU486. Overall, the results highlight larval zebrafish as a useful model for stress-induced liver failure.
The herb Ephedra sinica (also known as Chinese ephedra or Ma Huang), used in traditional Chinese medicine, contains alkaloids identical to ephedrine and pseudoephedrine as its principal active constituents. Recent studies have reported that ephedrine has various side effects in the cardiovascular and nervous systems. In addition, herbal Ephedra, a plant containing many pharmacologically active alkaloids, principally ephedrine, has been reported to cause acute hepatitis. Many studies reported clinical cases, however, the cellular mechanism of liver toxicity by ephedrine remains unknown. In this study, we investigated hepatotoxicity and key regulation of mitophagy in ephedrine-treated LX-2 cells. Ephedrine triggered mitochondrial oxidative stress and depolarization. Mitochondrial swelling and autolysosome were observed in ephedrine-treated cells. Ephedrine also inhibited mitochondrial biogenesis, and the mitochondrial copy number was decreased. Parkin siRNA recovered the ephedrine-induced mitochondrial damage. Excessive mitophagy lead to cell death through imbalance of autophagic flux. Moreover, antioxidants and reducing Parkin level could serve as therapeutic targets for ephedrine-induced hepatotoxicity.
Diphenylarsinic acid (DPAA), a neurotoxic organic arsenical used as a chemical warfare agent, is present in the groundwater and soil in some regions of Japan due to illegal dumping after World War II. We previously demonstrated that DPAA promotes diethylnitrosamine-induced liver carcinogenesis in a medium-term rat liver bioassay. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the potential carcinogenicity of DPAA, including investigation of whether the bile duct hyperplasia in the liver that was observed in a previous 52 week rat chronic study develops into a tumor, when administered to rats in their drinking water for 104 weeks. DPAA was administered to groups 1-4 at concentrations of 0, 5, 10, and 20 ppm in their drinking water for 104 weeks. A significant decrease in survival rate was found for females in the 20 ppm DPAA group. Body weights of males in the 20 ppm and females in the 10 and 20 ppm DPAA groups were significantly decreased compared to the controls. Overall histopathological evaluation of neoplasms in all tissues showed no significant increase of tumor incidence in any organ or tissue of the 5, 10, or 20 ppm DPAA-treated male or female F344 rats. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that DPAA is not a complete carcinogen in male or female F344 rats.
Trimethylamine, a dietary- and medicinal carnitine-derived amine, is extensively metabolized by liver to non-malodorous trimethylamine N-oxide. Although trimethylamine and trimethylamine N-oxide under daily dietary consumption or carnitine treatment are generally regarded as nontoxic, they have been, and remain, of toxicological and clinical interest because of their potential association with atherosclerosis. The aim of the current study was to model the pharmacokinetics of trimethylamine after oral administration of trimethylamine in humans and compare the results with reported measured values. Adjusted biomonitoring equivalents from rat studies based on reported plasma concentrations were scaled to human equivalents using known species allometric scaling factors. In vitro metabolic clearance data were obtained using rat and human liver microsomal preparations. Renal clearances in humans for trimethylamine and trimethylamine N-oxide were calculated with a clearance concept approach using reported 24-hr urinary excretion rates and assumed areas under plasma concentration curves. The resulting modeled plasma and urinary concentration curves by simple physiologically based pharmacokinetic models (or semi-physiological pharmacokinetic models) were consistent with reported concentrations. This study provides important information to help simulate human plasma levels of trimethylamine and trimethylamine N-oxide in trimethylamine loading tests and during treatment with prescribed medicinal l-carnitine, showing the similar range as that resulting from daily dietary foodstuff consumption along with little toxicological impacts. The present models could estimate relationship between plasma and urine concentrations of trimethylamine or trimethylamine N-oxide and the daily oral doses by both forward and reverse dosimetry from viewpoint of human risk assessment.
Diethyl ether (ether) had been widely used in Japan for anesthesia, despite its explosive properties and toxicity to both humans and animals. We also had used ether as an anesthetic for euthanizing rats for research in the Toxicogenomics Project (TGP). Because the use of ether for these purposes will likely cease, it is required to select an alternative anesthetic which is validated for consistency with existing TGP data acquired under ether anesthesia. We therefore compared two alternative anesthetic candidates, isoflurane and pentobarbital, with ether in terms of hematological findings, serum biochemical parameters, and gene expressions. As a result, few differences among the three agents were observed. In hematological and serum biochemistry analysis, no significant changes were found. In gene expression analysis, four known genes were extracted as differentially expressed genes in the liver of rats anesthetized with ether, isoflurane, or pentobarbital. However, no significant relationships were detected using gene ontology, pathway, or gene enrichment analyses by DAVID and TargetMine. Surprisingly, although it was expected that the lung would be affected by administration via inhalation, only one differentially expressed gene was extracted in the lung. Taken together, our data indicate that there are no significant differences among ether, isoflurane, and pentobarbital with respect to effects on hematological parameters, serum biochemistry parameters, and gene expression. Based on its smallest affect to existing data and its safety profile for humans and animals, we suggest isoflurane as a suitable alternative anesthetic for use in rat euthanasia in toxicogenomics analysis.
We investigated the utility of three-dimensionally cultured hepatocytes (spheroids) without feeder cells (Sph(f-)) for the prediction of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) in humans. Sph(f-) and spheroids cultured on feeder cells (Sph(f+)) were exposed to the hepatotoxic drugs flutamide, diclofenac, isoniazid and chlorpromazine at various concentrations for 14 days, and albumin secretion and cumulative leakages of toxicity marker enzymes, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (γ-GTP), were measured. The cumulative AST, LDH or γ-GTP leakages from Sph(f-) were similar to or greater than those from Sph(f+) for all drugs tested, although ALT leakages showed no consistent difference between Sph(f+) and Sph(f-). In the case of Sph(f-), significant correlations among all the toxicity markers except for γ-GTP were observed. As regards the drug concentrations causing 1.2-fold elevation of enzyme leakage (F1.2), no consistent difference between Sph(f+) and Sph(f-) was found, although several F1.2 values were undetermined, especially in Sph(f+). The IC50 of albumin secretion and F1.2 of AST leakage from Sph(f-) were equal to or lower than those of Sph(f+) for all the tested drugs. These results indicate that feeder cells might contribute to resistance to hepatotoxicity, suggesting DILI could be evaluated more accurately by using Sph(f-). We suggest that long-term exposure of Sph(f-) to drugs might be a versatile method to predict and reproduce clinical chronic toxicity, especially in response to repeated drug administration.
The Japanese shrimp industry depends on importing shrimp from other countries. However, little information is available on mercury speciation and selenium (Se) concentrations in commercial shrimp available in Japan. The present study determined the concentrations of total mercury (T-Hg), methylmercury (MeHg), and Se in the muscles (wet weight) of imported and domestic commercial shrimp from Kumamoto and Kagoshima prefectures to obtain information for assessing the risk of MeHg exposure. The median concentrations of T-Hg, MeHg and Se in shrimp imported from three different countries were, respectively: black tiger shrimp (n = 18), 15.8, 14.4, and 415 ng/g; Vannamei shrimp (n = 25), 11.4, 11.2, and 292 ng/g; and white shrimp (n = 26), 26.8, 26.1, and 396 ng/g. There were significant differences in T-Hg and MeHg concentrations between shrimp imported from different countries. The median concentrations of T-Hg, MeHg and Se in shrimp of Japanese origin were, respectively: Shiba shrimp (n = 10), 15.9, 15.0, and 270 ng/g; Kuruma shrimp (n = 10), 79.9, 75.9, and 390 ng/g; and Ashiaka shrimp (n = 10), 36.1, 34.1, and 303 ng/g. The percentages of MeHg in T-Hg were between 90% and 99%, with MeHg levels in the imported and domestic commercial shrimp lower than the Japanese regulation of 300 ng/g for fish. The mean Se/T-Hg molar ratios (16-160) were comparatively higher than those previously reported in fish. Overall, this survey suggests that shrimp commercially available in Japan will not pose a particularly high risk regarding MeHg exposure to consumers.
Monitoring dramatic changes in intracellular calcium ion levels during cardiac contraction and relaxation, known as calcium transient, in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) would be an attractive strategy for assessing compounds on cardiac contractility. In addition, as arrhythmogenic compounds are known to induce characteristic waveform changes in hiPSC-CMs, it is expected that calcium transient would allow evaluation of not only compound-induced effects on cardiac contractility, but also compound arrhythmogenic potential. Using a combination of calcium transient in hiPSC-CMs and a fast kinetic fluorescence imaging detection system, we examined in this study changes in calcium transient waveforms induced by a series of 17 compounds that include positive/negative inotropic agents as well as cardiac ion channel activators/inhibitors. We found that all positive inotropic compounds induced an increase in peak frequency and/or peak amplitude. The effects of a negative inotropic compound could clearly be detected in the presence of a β-adrenergic receptor agonist. Furthermore, most arrhythmogenic compounds raised the ratio of peak decay time to peak rise time (D/R ratio) in calcium transient waveforms. Compound concentrations at which these parameters exceeded cutoff values correlated well with systemic exposure levels at which arrhythmias were reported to be evoked. In conclusion, we believe that peak analysis of calcium transient and determination of D/R ratio are reliable methods for assessing compounds’ cardiac contractility and arrhythmogenic potential, respectively. Using these approaches would allow selection of compounds with low cardiotoxic potential at the early stage of drug discovery.