The teratogenicity of the chemotherapeutic drug thalidomide is species-specific and affects humans, non-human primates, and rabbits. The primary oxidation of thalidomide in previously investigated rodents predominantly resulted in the formation of deactivated 5′-hydroxythalidomide. In the current study, similar in vivo biotransformations to 5-hydroxythalidomide and 5′-hydroxythalidomide were confirmed by the analysis of blood plasma from male rabbits, a thalidomide-sensitive species, after oral administration of thalidomide (2.0 mg/kg). Similar levels of thalidomide in seminal plasma and in blood plasma were detected using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry at 4 hr and 7 hr after oral doses in male rabbits. Seminal plasma concentrations of 5-hydroxythalidomide and 5′-hydroxythalidomide were also seen in male rabbits in a roughly similar time-dependent manner to those in the blood plasma after oral doses of thalidomide (2.0 mg/kg). Furthermore, the values generated by a simplified physiologically based pharmacokinetic rabbit model were in agreement with the measured in vivo blood plasma data under metabolic ratios of 0.01 for the hepatic intrinsic clearance of thalidomide to both unconjugated 5-hydroxythalidomide and 5′-hydroxythalidomide. These results suggest that metabolic activation of thalidomide may be dependent on rabbit liver enzymes just it was for cytochrome P450 enzymes in humanized-liver mice; in contrast, rodent livers predominantly mediate biotransformation of thalidomide to 5′-hydroxythalidomide. A developmental toxicity test system with experimental animals that involves intravaginal exposures to the chemotherapeutic drug thalidomide via semen should be considered in the future.
An anesthetic mixture of medetomidine, midazolam and butorphanol (MMB) has been recently used in laboratory animals. We observed corneal opacity in nephrectomized rats that had undergone two operations under MMB anesthesia at 4 and 5 weeks of age. To evaluate the features of this corneal opacity, ophthalmic examinations were conducted in 83 nephrectomized rats, and 8 representative animals with corneal opacity were evaluated histopathologically 4 weeks after operation. The ophthalmic examinations revealed that 66/83 animals had corneal opacity, which was characterized histopathologically by mineralization with or without inflammation in the corneal stroma. In addition, to examine the possible causes of this corneal opacity, we investigated whether similar corneal changes were induced by the MMB anesthetic treatment in normal rats. The MMB anesthetic was administered twice to 4- and 5-week-old normal SD rats (5 animals/age) in the same manner as for the nephrectomized rats. Ophthalmic examinations were conducted in all the animals once a week, and the animals were necropsied 4 weeks after the first administration. In normal rats, similar corneal opacity was observed after the first administration, and increases in the severity and size of the corneal opacity were noted after the second administration. In conclusion, this study revealed the features of corneal opacity in rats undergoing nephrectomy under MMB anesthesia and the occurrence of similar corneal opacity in normal rats treated with MMB anesthetic. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of corneal opacity related to MMB anesthetic treatment in rats.
The liver plays critical roles to maintain homeostasis of living organisms and is also a major target organ of chemical toxicity. Meanwhile, nuclear receptors (NRs) are known to regulate major liver functions and also as a critical target for hepatotoxic compounds. In this study, we established mammalian one-hybrid assay systems for five rat-derived NRs, namely PXR, PPARα, LXRα, FXR and RXRα, and evaluated a total of 326 compounds for their NR-activating profiles. Then, we assessed the association between their NR-activating profile and hepatotoxic endpoints in repeated-dose toxicity data of male rats from Hazard Evaluation Support System. In the in vitro cell-based assays, 68, 38, 20, 17 and 17 compounds were identified as positives for PXR, PPARα, LXRα, FXR and RXRα, respectively. The association analyses demonstrated that the PXR-positive compounds showed high frequency of endpoints related to liver hypertrophy, such as centrilobular hepatocellular hypertrophy, suggesting that PXR activation is involved in chemical-induced liver hypertrophy in rats. It is intriguing to note that the PXR-positive compounds also showed statistically significant associations with both prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time and prolonged prothrombin time, suggesting a possible involvement of PXR in the regulation of blood clotting factors. Collectively, our approach may be useful for discovering new functions of NRs as well as understanding the complex mechanism for hepatotoxicity caused by chemical compounds.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus represents an international health concern with its growing number of patients worldwide. At the same time, excessive salt consumption is also seen as a major cause of diseases such as hypertension and may expedite renal complications in diabetic patients. In this study, we investigated the effects of excessive sodium chloride supplementation on the kidney of the Spontaneously Diabetic Torii-Leprfa (SDT fatty) rat, an obese type 2 diabetes model. Male and female SDT fatty rats and normal Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats at 5 weeks of age were loaded with 0.3% sodium chloride (NaCl) in drinking water for 13 weeks. Blood serum and urinary parameters were observed throughout the experiment and kidney samples were examined in histopathological and genetical analyses. Significant changes on the body weight, blood pressure, urine volume, creatinine clearance, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), relative gene expressions of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) were observed in the salt-loaded male SDT fatty rats. Urinary L-type fatty acid-binding protein (L-FABP) and albumin levels were higher observed in the salt-loaded male SDT fatty rats throughout the period, but urinary albumin levels in the female SDT fatty rats remain unchanged. In the kidney, slight Armani-Ebstein changes, tubular degeneration, hyaline cast, and inflammatory cell infiltration were observed in female SDT fatty rats while the levels of some changes were higher in the salt-loaded group. The kidney of the salt-loaded male SDT fatty rats demonstrated a higher degree of lesions compared to the female group and the male unloaded group. Histopathological changes in salt-loaded SDT fatty rats show that excessive salt consumption may act as a diabetic pathology exacerbation factor, but the pathology may be influenced by gender difference. Urinary L-FABP levels may act as a useful biomarker to detect slight tubular damages in the kidney. Excessive salt loading was shown to exacerbate the renal injury in SDT fatty rats.
Epyrifenacil, one of the protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO)-inhibiting herbicides, is hepatotoxic in rodents. Previous in vitro assays detected species differences in both kinetics (active hepatic uptake) and dynamics (PPO inhibitory activity) of S-3100-CA, which is a causal metabolite of the hepatotoxicity, suggesting that humans are less sensitive to the epyrifenacil-induced hepatotoxicity than are rats and mice. To elucidate the species differences in the epyrifenacil-induced hepatotoxicity between mice and humans simultaneously, this study fed epyrifenacil to chimeric mice with humanized liver with low replacement index of human hepatocytes. The distribution of S-3100-CA in the liver and subsequent protoporphyrin IX (PPIX) accumulation, an index of PPO inhibition, were compared between human and host mouse hepatocytes using mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) analysis of chimeric liver. The results showed that S-3100-CA and PPIX were significantly colocalized in regions of the liver slice containing host mouse hepatocytes, and thus it was suggested that epyrifenacil had significantly less effect on human livers than mouse livers because of the species differences in both kinetics and dynamics of S-3100-CA. Moreover, the hepatic uptake assay using cryopreserved primary hepatocytes of rats, mice and humans with inhibitors revealed that S-3100-CA is a substrate of organic anion transporting polypeptides (OATPs). These data corroborate the contribution of OATPs to hepatocellular uptake of S-3100-CA, especially in mice, and subsequent PPIX accumulation by more potent S-3100-CA-induced PPO inhibition in mice. MSI analysis of chimeric mice with humanized liver is a useful technique for elucidating species differences in pharmacokinetics and subsequent changes in toxicological biomarkers.
The gastrointestinal tract is exposed to a myriad of mutagens, making the DNA damage response (DDR) essential to maintain intestinal homeostasis. In vivo models to study DDRs are necessary to understand the mechanisms of disease development caused by genetic disorders such as colorectal cancer. A double-stranded break (DSB) in DNA is the most toxic type of DNA damage; it can be induced by either X-rays or chemicals, including anticancer agents. If DSBs in DNA cannot be repaired, cells can die by apoptosis to be removed from tissues. Here, we show that the DDRs observed as the phosphorylation of H2AX (γH2AX) and caspase-3-dependent apoptosis-induction are under critical control in the intestine of C57BL mice that were injected intraperitoneally with bleomycin, a natural glycopeptide used clinically as an antitumor agent. We found a significant increase in γH2AX expression 2–6 hr post-treatment in mouse ileum, cecum, and colon tissues by Western blotting and immunostaining. Apoptotic cells were observed after 6–24 hr by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay and immunofluorescence of active caspase-3. We observed that γH2AX expression and apoptotic cells were distributed in the lower part of the crypt. The experimental protocol described here is a simple procedure that can be used generally as an in vivo intestinal toxicity assay. Our experimental approach provides a useful method for examining the effects of various bioactive compounds on the DDR, which is essential for understanding intestinal homeostasis.