Rodent in vivo carcinogenicity bioassays are required for human risk assessment and have been utilized in this capacity for decades. Accordingly, there is an abundance of data that could be accessed and analyzed to better understand the translatability of xenobiotic-induced rodent tumors to human risk assessment. In the past decade, various groups have published assessments of the value garnered by these life-time rodent studies. Results and recommendations from the International Council for Harmonization Expert Working Group (ICH-S1 EWG) on the predictability of the current testing paradigm and proposal for an integrated approach to human carcinogenicity risk assessment are pending. Central nervous system (CNS) tumors in rats are rare and translatability to human remains unknown. This review focuses on microglial cell tumors (MCT) of the CNS in rats including its classification, nomenclature, incidence and translatability to human risk assessment. Based on emerging immunohistochemistry (IHC) characterization, glial tumors previously thought of astrocytic origin are more likely MCTs. These may be considered rodent specific and glucose dysregulation may be one component contributing to their formation. Based on review of the literature, MCTs are rarely diagnosed in humans, thus this tumor type may be rat-specific. We propose to include MCTs as a tumor type in revised International Harmonization of Nomenclature and Diagnostic Criteria (INHAND) classification and all glial tumors to be classified as MCTs unless proven otherwise by IHC.
Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a kind of organic pollutant widely found in the environment and biota, could alter normal brain development and produce cognitive dysfunction. For the past years, the neurotoxic effects of PFOS have been shown. Recent studies have proven that PFOS can induce neuronal apoptosis and cause neurotoxicity, but the regulatory proteins referred to the process have not been clarified. In this study, PC12 cells were used to investigate the changes of the expression of apoptosis-related proteins, forkhead box O3 (FoxO3a) and pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins. We detected that the levels of cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP were up-regulated obviously in PFOS-treated PC12 cells by using Western blotting, and that the apoptotic rate of PC12 cells was increased significantly by using flow cytometry, verifying that PFOS could induce neuronal apoptosis. Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence revealed obvious up-regulation of the expression of FoxO3a and proapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins. In addition, knockdown of FoxO3a gene inhibited Bim expression and apoptosis. According to the data, we believe that FoxO3a may play a crucial role in PFOS-induced neurotoxicity.
The assessment of xenobiotic-induced testicular toxicity is important in drug development. Nonetheless, in vitro models to test drugs and chemicals that may cause testicular toxicity are lacking, requiring the continued use of animal models for those studies. We previously evaluated an in vitro mouse testis organ culture system using ethinylestradiol (EE), a well-studied testicular toxicant, and demonstrated a dose-dependent relationship between adverse effects to germ cell differentiation and increasing EE concentrations. However, we terminated that study after 20 days of culture due to oxygen deficiency during germ cell differentiation. Therefore, in the current study, we aimed to identify gene(s) with potential for supporting the histopathological evaluations of testicular toxicity using in vitro testis organ culture system. We cultured testis fragments obtained from mice at postnatal day (PND) 5 in α-Minimal Essential Medium containing 40 mg/mL AlbuMAX™ I and treated them with 0.01 or 1 nM EE on day 1 of culture. On day 20, we collected testis fragments for RNA sequencing analysis and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). We found that phospholipase C, zeta 1 and testis-specific serine kinase 4 genes, that are involved in spermatogenesis and predominantly expressed in the testis, were significantly reduced in testis fragments treated with the highest concentration of EE. Also, cytochrome P450, family 26, subfamily b, polypeptide 1 (Cyp26b1) and interleukin 16 (Il16) were up-regulated in the highest EE-treated groups. Further studies are needed to confirm the variations of these gene expression using other testicular toxicants.
Zinc (Zn) is an essential element, but excess amounts are known to cause neurotoxic effects. The risk of excessive Zn intake is increased by supplementing food intake with dietary supplements. Ageing affects many cellular processes that predispose individuals to neurodegeneration. Indeed, the prevalence of senile dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and vascular-type dementia increases with age. As such, we investigated the effects of long-term exposure to excess Zn on learning and memory in aged mice. ICR-JCL female mice (aged 26 weeks) were administered 0, 200, or 500 ppm Zn as zinc chloride in drinking water for 30 weeks. After 30-week administration, aged female animals were subjected to Y-maze, novel object recognition, and step-through passive avoidance tests. Chronic exposure to Zn did not inhibit learning and memory in the Y-maze test, but dose-dependently inhibited learning and memory in novel object recognition and step-through passive avoidance tests. These results indicate the potential for chronic Zn exposure to dose-dependently inhibit both long-term and novel object recognition memory. Results of microarray analysis revealed significant changes in gene expression of transthyretin and many olfactory receptors in the hippocampus of Zn-treated mice.
Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for the development of various cancers, such as lung, nasal, liver and bladder cancers. 4-(Methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), a tobacco-specific nitrosamine, is implicated in human lung cancer. NNK-induced DNA adducts are found in target tissues for NNK carcinogenesis. NNK is activated by cytochrome P450 dependent α-hydroxylation at either the methylene carbon or methyl carbon adjacent to the N-nitroso group. The former leads to the formation of the methylating agent, and the latter produce the pyridyloxobutylating agent. NNK and some of its metabolites are further metabolized by UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs). Glucuronides generally are much less active than the parent aglycon therefore the glucuronides of NNK-related metabolites are thought to be inactive. However, 4-(hydroxymethylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone glucuronide (HO-methyl NNK glucuronide) can be transported to the target organs of NNK carcinogenesis where subsequent hydrolysis causes the release of the reactive intermediate. Regeneration of HO-methyl NNK could play an important role in the tissue-specific carcinogenicity of NNK. In the present study, we investigated the reactivity of HO-methyl NNK glucuronide toward 2’-deoxyguanosine (dGuo) and N-acetylcysteine (NAC; used as a models for thiol groups on proteins). The reaction mixtures of HO-methyl NNK glucuronide and dGuo or NAC were analyzed by LCMS-IT-TOF-MS. We also employed 4-(acetoxymethylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone, a pyridyloxobutylating agent, to confirm the formation of pyridyloxobutylated adducts. Thus, we determined the production of pyridyloxobutylated dGuo and NAC adducts. Our results suggest HO-methyl NNK glucuronide could generate a reactive intermediate in the tissues and then form adducts with proteins and DNA.
Genotoxicity and carcinogenicity profiles of drugs occasionally vary across species due to species difference in drug metabolic profile. To clarify the effect of species differences in the metabolic profile on micronucleus induction, we conducted an in vitro micronucleus test for seven clastogens (benzo[a]pyrene: BaP, cyclophosphamide monohydrate: CPA coumarin, diclofenac, piroxicam, lansoprazole, and chlorpheniramine) with rat, mouse, monkey, dog, or human liver S9. BaP, CPA, coumarin, diclofenac, piroxicam, and lansoprazole induced micronucleus formation with all species of S9s, whereas chlorpheniramine did not induce micronucleus formation in any of the S9s. BaP and CPA revealed remarkable species differences in micronucleus induction, whereas coumarin, diclofenac, piroxicam, and lansoprazole did not present any differences. Interestingly, the amounts of hydroxy-BaP-epoxides and phosphamide mustard, which might be associated with micronucleus induction by BaP and CPA, respectively, were correlated with the degree of micronucleus induction among the five species. In conclusion, the species difference in micronucleus induction by BaP and CPA was attributable to the differences in the metabolic profiles of these drugs among species. Our results indicate that it is crucial to understand the effect of species differences in the metabolic profile of drug candidates on genotoxicity and carcinogenicity potential and to predict their risk in human.
Recent studies have demonstrated a relationship between the disruption of zinc homeostasis and the onset of diseases. However, little is known about the factors that disrupt zinc homeostasis. Here, we investigated the effects of β-naphthoflavone, an exogenous ligand of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), on intracellular zinc levels. Human hepatoma HepG2 cells were treated with β-naphthoflavone for 3 days, and intracellular labile and total zinc levels were assessed through flow cytometry and inductively coupled plasma atom emission spectroscopy, respectively. The mRNA levels of zinc transporters were determined by real-time PCR. Treatment of cells with β-naphthoflavone induced a decrease in intracellular labile zinc in a dose-dependent manner, with significantly decreased levels observed at 1 µM compared with controls. Additionally, intracellular total zinc levels demonstrated a decreasing trend with 10 µM β-naphthoflavone. Zinc pyrithione recovered the decrease in intracellular labile zinc levels induced by β-naphthoflavone, while zinc sulfate had no effect. Moreover, significant decreases in the mRNA levels of zinc transporters ZnT10 and ZIP5 were observed in response to 10 µM β-naphthoflavone. These results demonstrated that β-naphthoflavone has the potential to disrupt zinc homeostasis in hepatocytes. Although the underlying mechanism remains to be determined, suppression of zinc transporter transcription through AHR activation may be involved in the β-naphthoflavone-induced disruption of intracellular zinc levels.