Based on existing data and previous work, a series of studies is proposed as a basis toward a pragmatic early step in transforming toxicity testing. These studies were assembled into a data-driven framework that invokes successive tiers of testing with margin of exposure (MOE) as the primary metric. The first tier of the framework integrates data from high-throughput in vitro assays, in vitro-to-in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE) pharmacokinetic modeling, and exposure modeling. The in vitro assays are used to separate chemicals based on their relative selectivity in interacting with biological targets and identify the concentration at which these interactions occur. The IVIVE modeling converts in vitro concentrations into external dose for calculation of the point of departure (POD) and comparisons to human exposure estimates to yield a MOE. The second tier involves short-term in vivo studies, expanded pharmacokinetic evaluations, and refined human exposure estimates. The results from the second tier studies provide more accurate estimates of the POD and the MOE. The third tier contains the traditional animal studies currently used to assess chemical safety. In each tier, the POD for selective chemicals is based primarily on endpoints associated with a proposed mode of action, whereas the POD for nonselective chemicals is based on potential biological perturbation. Based on the MOE, a significant percentage of chemicals evaluated in the first 2 tiers could be eliminated from further testing. The framework provides a risk-based and animal-sparing approach to evaluate chemical safety, drawing broadly from previous experience but incorporating technological advances to increase efficiency.
Arsenic species patterns in urine are associated with risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The organic anion transporter coded by the gene SLCO1B1 may transport arsenic species, but its association with arsenic metabolites in human urine has not yet been studied. The objective of this study is to evaluate associations of urine arsenic metabolites with variants in the candidate gene SLCO1B1 in adults from the Strong Heart Family Study. We estimated associations between % arsenic species biomarker traits and 5 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the SLCO1B1 gene in 157 participants, assuming additive genetics. Linear regression models for each SNP accounted for kinships and were adjusted for sex, body mass index, and study center. The minor allele of rs1564370 was associated with lower %MMA (p = .0003) and higher %DMA (p = .0002), accounting for 8% of the variance for %MMA and 9% for %DMA. The rs1564370 minor allele homozygote frequency was 17% and the heterozygote frequency was 43%. The minor allele of rs2291075 was associated with lower %MMA (p = .0006) and higher %DMA (p = .0014), accounting for 7% of the variance for %MMA and 5% for %DMA. The frequency of rs2291075 minor allele homozygotes was 1% and of heterozygotes was 15%. Common variants in SLCO1B1 were associated with differences in arsenic metabolites in a preliminary candidate gene study. Replication of this finding in other populations and analyses with respect to disease outcomes are needed to determine whether this novel candidate gene is important for arsenic-associated disease risks.
Ethylene oxide (EO) is a genotoxicant and a mouse lung carcinogen, but whether EO is carcinogenic through a mutagenic mode of action remains unclear. To investigate this question, 8-week-old male Big Blue B6C3F1 mice (10 mice/group) were exposed to EO by inhalation—6h/day, 5 days/week for 4 weeks (0, 10, 50, 100, or 200 ppm EO) and 8 or 12 weeks (0, 100, or 200 ppm EO). Lung DNA samples were analyzed for levels of 3 K-ras codon 12 mutations (GGT->GAT, GGT->GTT, and GGT->TGT) using ACB-PCR. No measureable level of K-ras codon 12 TGT mutation was detected (ie, all lung mutant fractions [MFs] ≤ 10–5). Four weeks of inhalation of 100 ppm EO caused a significant increase in K-ras codon 12 GGT->GTT MF relative to controls, whereas 50, 100, and 200 ppm EO caused significant increases in K-ras codon 12 GGT->GAT MF. In addition, significant inverse correlations were observed between K-ras codon 12 GGT->GTT MF and cII mutant frequency in the lungs of the same mice exposed to 50, 100, or 200 ppm EO for 4 weeks. Surprisingly, 8 weeks of exposure to 100 and 200 ppm EO caused significant decreases in K-ras MFs relative to controls. Thus, the changes in K-ras MF as a function of cumulative EO dose were nonmonotonic and were consistent with EO causing early amplification of preexisting K-ras mutations, rather than induction of K-ras mutation through genotoxicity at codon 12. The possibility that these changes reflect K-ras mutant cell selection under varying degrees of oxidative stress is discussed.
Recent analysis of air samples from Chicago and Lake Michigan areas observed a ubiquitous airborne polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congener, 3,3'-dichlorobiphenyl (PCB11). Our analysis of serum samples also revealed the existence of hydroxylated metabolites of PCB11 in human blood. Because PCBs and PCB metabolites have been suggested to induce oxidative stress, this study sought to determine whether environmental exposure to PCB11 and its 4-hydroxyl metabolite could induce alterations in steady-state levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cytotoxicity in immortalized human prostate epithelial cells (RWPE-1). This study also examines if antioxidants could protect the cells from PCB11-induced cytotoxicity. Exponentially growing RWPE-1 cells were exposed to PCB11 and its metabolite, 3,3'-dichlorobiphenyl-4-ol (4-OH-PCB11), as well as an airborne PCB mixture resembling the Chicago ambient air congener profile, every day for 5 days. Results showed that 4-OH-PCB11 could significantly induce cell growth suppression and decrease the viability and plating efficiency of RWPE-1 cells. 4-OH-PCB11 also significantly increased steady-state levels of intracellular superoxide, O2•–, as well as hydroperoxides. Finally, treatment with the combination of polyethylene glycol–conjugated CuZn superoxide dismutase and catalase added 1h after 4-OH-PCB11 exposures, significantly protected RWPE-1 cells from PCB toxicity. The results strongly support the hypothesis that exposure to a hydroxylated metabolite of PCB11 can inhibit cell proliferation and cause cytotoxicity by increasing steady-state levels of ROS. Furthermore, antioxidant treatments following PCBs exposure could significantly mitigate the PCB-induced cytotoxicity in exponentially growing human prostate epithelial cells.
It has been demonstrated that co-treatment of rats with amiodarone (AMD) and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) produces idiosyncrasy-like liver injury. In this study, the hypothesis that the hemostatic system and neutrophils contribute to AMD/LPS-induced liver injury was explored. Rats were treated with AMD (400mg/kg, ip) or vehicle and 16h later with LPS (1.6x106 endotoxin units/kg, iv) or saline (Sal). AMD did not affect the hemostatic system by itself but significantly potentiated LPS-induced coagulation activation and fibrinolysis impairment. Increased hepatic fibrin deposition and subsequent hypoxia were observed only in AMD/LPS-treated animals, starting before the onset of liver injury. Administration of anticoagulant heparin abolished AMD/LPS-induced hepatic fibrin deposition and reduced AMD/LPS-induced liver damage. Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) accumulated in liver after treatment with LPS or AMD/LPS, but PMN activation was only observed in AMD/LPS-treated rats. Rabbit anti-rat PMN serum, which reduced accumulation of PMNs in liver, prevented PMN activation and attenuated AMD/LPS-induced liver injury in rats. PMN depletion did not affect hepatic fibrin deposition. Anticoagulation prevented PMN activation without affecting PMN accumulation. In summary, both the hemostatic system alteration and PMN activation contributed to AMD/LPS-induced liver injury in rats, in which fibrin deposition was critical for the activation of PMNs.
Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a transcription factor that is activated by cellular stresses, such as oxidative compounds. After activation, Nrf2 induces transcription of its target genes, many of which have cytoprotective functions. Previously, we have shown that activation of Nrf2 by tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ) skews murine CD4+ T-cell differentiation. Although the role of Nrf2 in murine T cells is somewhat characterized, it is largely uncharacterized in human T cells. Therefore, the aim of the current studies was to characterize the effects of the Nrf2 activator, tBHQ, on the early events of human CD4+ T-cell activation. Pretreatment of Jurkat T cells with tBHQ, prior to activation with anti-CD3/anti-CD28, diminished the production of interleukin-2 (IL-2) at both the transcript and protein levels. Similarly, the expression of CD25 also diminished, albeit to a lesser degree than IL-2, after pretreatment with tBHQ. The decrease in IL-2 production was not due to decreased nuclear translocation of c-fos or c-jun. Although tBHQ caused both a delay and a decrease in Ca2+ influx in activated Jurkat cells, no decrease in nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) DNA binding or transcriptional activity was observed. In contrast to NFAT, tBHQ significantly decreased NFB transcriptional activity. Collectively, our studies show that the Nrf2 activator, tBHQ, inhibits IL-2 and CD25 expression, which correlates with decreased NFB transcriptional activity in activated Jurkat cells. Overall, our studies suggest that Nrf2 represents a novel mechanism for the regulation of both human and mouse T cell function.
For many liver diseases, including viral and autoimmune hepatitis, immune cells play an important role in the development and progression of liver injury. Concanavalin A (Con A) administration to rodents has been used as a model of immune-mediated liver injury resembling human autoimmune hepatitis. 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) has been demonstrated to alter the development of immune-mediated diseases. Mice pretreated with TCDD developed exacerbated liver injury in response to administration of a mild dose (6mg/kg) of Con A. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that TCDD pretreatment exacerbates Con A-induced liver injury by enhancing the activation and recruitment of accessory cell types including neutrophils, macrophages, and natural killer (NK) cells. Mice were treated with 0, 0.3, 3, or 30 μg/kg TCDD and 4 days later with Con A or saline. TCDD pretreatment with doses of 3 and 30 μg/kg significantly increased liver injury from Con A administration. The plasma concentrations of neutrophil chemokines were significantly increased in TCDD-pretreated mice after Con A administration. NKT cell-deficient (CD1d KO) mice were used to examine whether NKT cells were required for TCDD/Con A-induced liver injury. CD1d KO mice were completely protected from liver injury induced by treatment with Con A alone, whereas the injury from TCDD/Con A treatment was reduced but not eliminated. However, T-cell deficient (RAG1 KO) mice were protected from liver injury induced by Con A irrespective of pretreatment with TCDD. TCDD/Con A treatment increased the percentage of NK cells expressing the activation marker CD69. Depletion of NK cells prior to treatment resulted in significant reductions in plasma interferon- and liver injury from TCDD/Con A treatment. In summary, exposure to TCDD exacerbated the immune-mediated liver injury induced by Con A, and our findings suggest that NK cells play a critical role in this response.
Microcystin-leucine-arginine (MCLR) is an environmental toxin from harmful algae, which has been linked to hepatotoxicity with high risks associated with liver disease. In this study, we explored the role of MCLR in NF-B and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways, which are important in regulating inflammatory and immune responses, in human hepatoma cell line HepG2 and primary mouse hepatocytes (PMHs). By in vitro cell-free and luciferase reporter systems, Western blotting with antiphospho-inhibitory protein of NF-B (IBα)/c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) antibody, it was found that at noncytotoxic concentrations (≤ 20nM MCLR in PMHs, 1–1000nM in HepG2), MCLR treatment alone promoted activation of NF-B and MAPK pathways and modulated TNF-α-induced activation of the 2 pathways in both cell models. By ELISA assay, MCLR was found to induce production of proinflammatory cytokine IL-6 in PMHs. At cytotoxic concentrations (≥ 50nM MCLR in PMHs), MCLR dramatically reduced cell viability and damaged cell morphology in PMHs, as determined by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay and transmission electron microscopy analysis. These results suggest that MCLR below 20nM has significant immunomodulatory activities through activation of NF-B and MAPK signaling pathways, and PMHs are more sensitive to MCLR-induced cytotoxicity than HepG2. To our knowledge, this is the first report showing the immunomodulatory role of MCLR in hepatocytes. Our results provide a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying MCLR-induced hepatotoxicity.
Adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) have been recently introduced in human risk assessment as pragmatic tools with multiple applications. As such, AOPs intend to provide a clear-cut mechanistic representation of pertinent toxicological effects. AOPs are typically composed of a molecular initiating event, a series of intermediate steps and key events, and an adverse outcome. In this study, an AOP framework is proposed for cholestasis triggered by drug-mediated inhibition of the bile salt export pump transporter protein. For this purpose, an in-depth survey of relevant scientific literature was carried out in order to identify intermediate steps and key events. The latter include bile accumulation, the induction of oxidative stress and inflammation, and the activation of specific nuclear receptors. Collectively, these mechanisms drive both a deteriorative cellular response, which underlies directly caused cholestatic injury, and an adaptive cellular response, which is aimed at counteracting cholestatic insults. AOP development was performed according to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidance, including critical consideration of the Bradford Hill criteria for weight of evidence assessment and the OECD key questions for evaluating AOP confidence. The postulated AOP is expected to serve as the basis for the development of new in vitro tests and the characterization of novel biomarkers of drug-induced cholestasis.
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) has a plethora of physiological roles, and upon dysregulation, carcinogenesis can occur. One target gene of AHR encodes the xenobiotic and drug-metabolizing enzyme CYP1A1, which is inducible by the environmental contaminant 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) via the AHR. An siRNA library targeted against over 5600 gene candidates in the druggable genome was used to transfect mouse Hepa-1 cells, which were then treated with TCDD, and subsequently assayed for CYP1A1-dependent ethoxyresorufin-o-deethylase (EROD) activity. Following redundant siRNA activity (RSA) statistical analysis, we identified 93 hits that reduced EROD activity with a p value ≤ .005 and substantiated 39 of these as positive hits in a secondary screening using endoribonuclease-prepared siRNAs (esiRNAs). Twelve of the corresponding gene products were subsequently confirmed to be necessary for the induction of CYP1A1 messenger RNA by TCDD. None of the candidates were deficient in aryl hydrocarbon nuclear translocator expression. However 6 gene products including UBE2i, RAB40C, CRYGD, DCTN4, RBM5, and RAD50 are required for the expression of AHR as well as for induction of CYP1A1. We also found 2 gene products, ARMC8 and TCF20, to be required for the induction of CYP1A1, but our data are ambiguous as to whether they are required for the expression of AHR. In contrast, SIN3A, PDC, TMEM5, and CD9 are not required for AHR expression but are required for the induction of CYP1A1, implicating a direct role in Cyp1a1 transcription. Our methods, although applied to Cyp1a1, could be modified for identifying proteins that regulate other inducible genes.
Although zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles (NPs) have been widely formulated in sunscreens, the relationship between reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation induced by these particles, zinc ions, and cytotoxicity is not clearly understood. This study explores whether these factors can be accurately quantified and related. The study demonstrates a strong correlation between ZnO NP–induced cytotoxicity and free intracellular zinc concentration (R2 = .945) in human immune cells, indicating a requirement for NP dissolution to precede cytotoxicity. In addition, although direct exposure to ZnO NPs was found to induce cytotoxicity at relatively high concentrations, indirect exposure (via dialysis) was not cytotoxic, even at extremely high concentrations, highlighting a requirement for NP-to-cell contact. Elevated levels of ROS present in NP-exposed cells also correlated to both cytotoxicity and intracellular free zinc. Although the addition of antioxidant was able to reduce ROS, cytotoxicity to ZnO NPs was unaffected, suggesting ROS may be, in part, a result of cytotoxicity rather than a causal factor. This study highlights both the requirement and role of intracellular dissolution of zinc nanomaterials to elicit a cytotoxic response. This response is only partially ROS dependent, and therefore, modification of NP uptake and their intracellular solubility are key components in modulating the bioactivity of ZnO NPs.
Polymeric nanoparticles (PNPs) are a promising platform for drug, gene, and vaccine delivery. Although generally regarded as safe, the toxicity of PNPs is not well documented. The present study investigated in vitro toxicity of poly--caprolactone, poly(DL-lactic acid), poly(lactide-cocaprolactone), and poly(lactide-co-glycide) NPs and possible mechanism of toxicity. The concentration-dependent effect of PNPs on cell viability was determined in a macrophage (RAW 264.7), hepatocyte (Hep G2), lung epithelial (A549), kidney epithelial (A498), and neuronal (Neuro 2A) cell lines. PNPs show toxicity at high concentrations in all cell lines. PNPs were efficiently internalized by RAW 264.7 cells and stimulated reactive oxygen species and tumor necrosis factor-alpha production. However, reactive nitrogen species and interleukin-6 production as well as lysosomal and mitochondrial stability remained unaffected. The intracellular degradation of PNPs was determined by monitoring changes in osmolality of culture medium and a novel fluorescence recovery after quenching assay. Cell death showed a good correlation with osmolality of culture medium suggesting the role of increased osmolality in cell death.
Exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) alters brain dopamine (DA) concentrations and DA receptor/transporter function, suggesting the reinforcing properties of drugs of abuse acting on the DA system may be affected by PCB exposure. Female Long-Evans rats were orally exposed to 0, 3, or 6mg/kg/day PCBs from 4 weeks prior to breeding until litters were weaned on postnatal day 21. In vivo fixed potential amperometry (FPA) was used in adult anesthetized offspring to determine whether perinatal PCB exposure altered (1) presynaptic DA autoreceptor (DAR) sensitivity, (2) electrically evoked nucleus accumbens (NAc) DA efflux following administration of cocaine, and (3) the rate of depletion of presynaptic DA stores. One adult male and female littermate were tested using FPA following a single injection of cocaine (20mg/kg ip), whereas a second adult male and female littermate were tested following the last of seven daily cocaine injections of the same dose. The carbon fiber recording microelectrode was positioned in the NAc core, and DA oxidation currents (i.e., DA release) evoked by brief stimulation of the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) were quantified before and after administration of cocaine. PCB-exposed rats exhibited enhanced stimulation-evoked DA release (relative to baseline) following a single injection of cocaine. Although nonexposed controls exhibited typical DA sensitization following repeated cocaine administration, this effect was attenuated in PCB-exposed rats. In addition, DAR sensitivity was higher (males only), and the rate of depletion of presynaptic DA stores was greater in PCB-exposed animals relative to nonexposed controls. These results indicate that perinatal PCB exposure can modify DA synaptic transmission in the NAc in a manner previously shown to alter the reinforcing properties of cocaine.
We have shown that maternal manganese (Mn) exposure caused sustained disruption of hippocampal neurogenesis of mouse offspring. To clarify the effects of maternal Mn exposure on epigenetic gene regulation contributing to the sustained disruption of hippocampal neurogenesis, we treated pregnant ICR mice with MnCl2 in diet from gestational day 10 through day 21 after delivery on weaning and searched epigenetically downregulated genes by global promoter methylation analysis in the hippocampal dentate gyrus of male offspring on postnatal day (PND) 21 and PND 77. By CpG promoter microarray analysis on PND 21 following 800-ppm Mn exposure, sustained promoter hypermethylation and transcript downregulation through PND 77 were confirmed with Mid1, Atp1a3, and Nr2f1, whereas Pvalb showed a transient hypermethylation only on weaning. The numbers of Pvalb+ and ATP1a3+ neurons suggestive of -aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic interneurons, Mid1+ cells suggestive of late-stage granule cell lineage and GABAergic interneurons, and COUP-TF1+ cells suggestive of early-stage granule cell lineage were all reduced on PND 21, and reductions were sustained on PND 77 except for no change in Pvalb+ cells. Mid1+ cells showed asymmetric distribution with right-side predominance, and Mn exposure abolished it by promoter hypermethylation of the right side. These findings indicate epigenetic mechanisms as mediators, through which Mn exposure modulates neurogenesis involving both granule cell lineage and GABAergic interneurons with long-lasting and stable repercussions. Disruption of asymmetric cellular distribution of Mid1 suggests that higher brain functions specialized in the left or right side of the brain were affected.
Controversial reports on the role of autophagy as a survival or cell death mechanism in dopaminergic cell death induced by parkinsonian toxins exist. We investigated the alterations in autophagic flux and the role of autophagy protein 5 (Atg5)-dependent autophagy in dopaminergic cell death induced by parkinsonian toxins. Dopaminergic cell death induced by the mitochondrial complex I inhibitors 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+) and rotenone, the pesticide paraquat, and the dopamine analog 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) was paralleled by increased autophagosome accumulation. However, when compared with basal autophagy levels using chloroquine, autophagosome accumulation was a result of impaired autophagic flux. Only 6-OHDA induced an increase in autophagosome formation. Overexpression of a dominant negative form of Atg5 increased paraquat- and MPP+-induced cell death. Stimulation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-dependent signaling protected against cell death induced by paraquat, whereas MPP+-induced toxicity was enhanced by wortmannin, a phosphoinositide 3-kinase class III inhibitor, rapamycin, and trehalose, an mTOR-independent autophagy activator. Modulation of autophagy by either pharmacological or genetic approaches had no effect on rotenone or 6-OHDA toxicity. Cell death induced by parkinsonian neurotoxins was inhibited by the pan caspase inhibitor (Z-VAD), but only caspase-3 inhibition was able to decrease MPP+-induced cell death. Finally, inhibition of the lysosomal hydrolases, cathepsins, increased the toxicity by paraquat and MPP+, supporting a protective role of Atg5-dependent autophagy and lysosomes degradation pathways on dopaminegic cell death. These results demonstrate that in dopaminergic cells, Atg5-dependent autophagy acts as a protective mechanism during apoptotic cell death induced by paraquat and MPP+ but not during rotenone or 6-OHDA toxicity.
Chemotherapy has been associated with premature ovarian failure and infertility in women with cancer. It is well known that anticancer drugs reduce the primordial follicle pool and harm the ovarian blood vascularization leading to ovarian atrophy. However, their mechanism of injury still remains unclear. The aim of this study was to identify the cellular mechanisms involved in the toxicity of chemotherapy drugs belonging to different classes on human ovarian luteinized granulosa cells (LGCs). Treatment with doxorubicin (DXR), paclitaxel (PC), and cisplatin (CP) affected LGCs viability by inducing apoptosis and downregulating both estrogen receptor β and follicle-stimulating hormone receptor in a dose-dependent manner. Several members of the WNT signaling pathway are expressed in granulosa cells where they regulate follicle development, ovulation, and luteinization. Here we show that treatment with DXR, PC, and CP induced upregulation of WNT4 expression, whereas WNT3 expression was downregulated by DXR and PC and upregulated by CP. Analysis of the WNT3 downstream signaling pathway showed that total β-catenin protein levels were reduced upon treatment with DXR and PC. Additionally, restoration of β-catenin signaling by lithium chloride protected LGCs from the injury induced by chemotherapy. The in vitro LGC toxicity model described might represent a tool to identify components of specific signaling pathways, such as the Wnt pathway, that can be targeted in order to limit the follicular damage caused by chemotherapy.
Amiodarone, bi-iodinated benzofuran derivative, is one of the most frequently prescribed and efficacious antiarrhythmic drugs. Despite its low incidence, amiodarone-induced pulmonary toxicity is of great concern and the leading cause of discontinuation. Autophagy is an essential homeostatic process that mediates continuous recycling of intracellular materials when nutrients are scarce. It either leads to a survival advantage or initiates death processes in cells under stress. In the present study, we investigated the role of autophagy in amiodarone-induced pulmonary toxicity. Amiodarone treatment–induced autophagy in H460 human lung epithelial cells and BEAS-2B normal human bronchial epithelial cells was demonstrated by increased LC3-II conversion, Atg7 upregulation, and autophagosome formation. Autophagic flux, as determined by the lysosomal inhibitor bafilomycin A1, was also increased following amiodarone treatment. To determine the role of autophagy in amiodarone toxicity, amiodarone-induced cell death was evaluated in the presence of 3-methyladenine or by knocking down the autophagy-related genes Atg7. Inhibition of autophagy decreased cellular viability and significantly increased apoptosis. Intratracheal instillation of amiodarone in rats increased the number of inflammatory cells recovered from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and periodic acid-Schiff-positive staining in bronchiolar epithelial cells. However, induction of autophagy by rapamycin treatment inhibited amiodarone-induced pulmonary toxicity. In conclusion, amiodarone treatment induced autophagy, which is involved in protection against cell death and pulmonary toxicity.
The ability to anchor chemical class–based gene expression changes to phenotypic lesions and to describe these changes as a function of dose and time informs mode-of-action determinations and improves quantitative risk assessments. Previous global expression profiling identified a 330-probe cluster differentially expressed and commonly responsive to 3 hepatotumorigenic conazoles (cyproconazole, epoxiconazole, and propiconazole) at 30 days. Extended to 2 more conazoles (triadimefon and myclobutanil), the present assessment encompasses 4 tumorigenic and 1 nontumorigenic conazole. Transcriptional benchmark dose levels (BMDLT) were estimated for a subset of the cluster with dose-responsive behavior and a ≥ 5-fold increase or decrease in signal intensity at the highest dose. These genes primarily encompassed CAR/RXR activation, P450 metabolism, liver hypertrophy- glutathione depletion, LPS/IL-1-mediated inhibition of RXR, and NRF2-mediated oxidative stress pathways. Median BMDLT estimates from the subset were concordant (within a factor of 2.4) with apical benchmark doses (BMDLA) for increased liver weight at 30 days for the 5 conazoles. The 30-day median BMDLT estimates were within one-half order of magnitude of the chronic BMDLA for hepatocellular tumors. Potency differences seen in the dose-responsive transcription of certain phase II metabolism, bile acid detoxification, and lipid oxidation genes mirrored each conazole’s tumorigenic potency. The 30-day BMDLT corresponded to tumorigenic potency on a milligram per kilogram day basis with cyproconazole > epoxiconazole > propiconazole > triadimefon > myclobutanil (nontumorigenic). These results support the utility of measuring short-term gene expression changes to inform quantitative risk assessments from long-term exposures.
The bile salt export pump (BSEP) is expressed at the canalicular domain of hepatocytes, where it serves as the primary route of elimination for monovalent bile acids (BAs) into the bile canaliculi. The most compelling evidence linking dysfunction in BA transport with liver injury in humans is found with carriers of mutations that render BSEP nonfunctional. Based on mounting evidence, there appears to be a strong association between drug-induced BSEP interference and liver injury in humans; however, causality has not been established. For this reason, drug-induced BSEP interference is best considered a susceptibility factor for liver injury as other host- or drug-related properties may contribute to the development of hepatotoxicity. To better understand the association between BSEP interference and liver injury in humans, over 600 marketed or withdrawn drugs were evaluated in BSEP expressing membrane vesicles. The example of a compound that failed during phase 1 human trials is also described, AMG 009. AMG 009 showed evidence of liver injury in humans that was not predicted by preclinical safety studies, and BSEP inhibition was implicated. For 109 of the drugs with some effect on in vitro BSEP function, clinical use, associations with hepatotoxicity, pharmacokinetic data, and other information were annotated. A steady state concentration (Css) for each of these annotated drugs was estimated, and a ratio between this value and measured IC50 potency values were calculated in an attempt to relate exposure to in vitro potencies. When factoring for exposure, 95% of the annotated compounds with a Css/BSEP IC50 ratio ≥ 0.1 were associated with some form of liver injury. We then investigated the relationship between clinical evidence of liver injury and effects to multidrug resistance-associated proteins (MRPs) believed to play a role in BA homeostasis. The effect of 600+ drugs on MRP2, MRP3, and MRP4 function was also evaluated in membrane vesicle assays. Drugs with a Css/BSEP IC50 ratio ≥ 0.1 and a Css/MRP IC50 ratio ≥ 0.1 had almost a 100% correlation with some evidence of liver injury in humans. These data suggest that integration of exposure data, and knowledge of an effect to not only BSEP but also one or more of the MRPs, is a useful tool for informing the potential for liver injury due to altered BA transport.
Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is one of the leading causes of the termination of drug development programs. Consequently, identifying the risk of DILI in humans for drug candidates during the early stages of the development process would greatly reduce the drug attrition rate in the pharmaceutical industry but would require the implementation of new research and development strategies. In this regard, several in silico models have been proposed as alternative means in prioritizing drug candidates. Because the accuracy and utility of a predictive model rests largely on how to annotate the potential of a drug to cause DILI in a reliable and consistent way, the Food and Drug Administration–approved drug labeling was given prominence. Out of 387 drugs annotated, 197 drugs were used to develop a quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) model and the model was subsequently challenged by the left of drugs serving as an external validation set with an overall prediction accuracy of 68.9%. The performance of the model was further assessed by the use of 2 additional independent validation sets, and the 3 validation data sets have a total of 483 unique drugs. We observed that the QSAR model’s performance varied for drugs with different therapeutic uses; however, it achieved a better estimated accuracy (73.6%) as well as negative predictive value (77.0%) when focusing only on these therapeutic categories with high prediction confidence. Thus, the model’s applicability domain was defined. Taken collectively, the developed QSAR model has the potential utility to prioritize compound’s risk for DILI in humans, particularly for the high-confidence therapeutic subgroups like analgesics, antibacterial agents, and antihistamines.
Drug-induced liver injury is an important issue for drug development and clinical drug therapy; however, in most cases, it is difficult to predict or prevent these reactions due to a lack of suitable animal models and the unknown mechanisms of action. Phenytoin (DPH) is an anticonvulsant drug that is widely used for the treatment of epilepsy. Some patients who are administered DPH will suffer symptoms of drug-induced liver injury characterized by hepatic necrosis. DPH-induced liver injury occurs in 1 in 1000 or 1 in 10 000 patients. Clinically, 75% of patients who develop liver injury develop a fever and 63% develop a rash. In this study, we established a mouse model for DPH-induced liver injury and analyzed the mechanisms for hepatotoxicity in the presence of immune-related or inflammation-related factors and metabolic activation. Female C57BL/6 mice were administered DPH for 5 days in combination with l-buthionine-S,R-sulfoximine. Then, the plasma alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels were increased, hepatic lesions were observed during the histological evaluations, the hepatic glutathione levels were significantly reduced, and the oxidative stress marker levels were significantly increased. The inhibition of cytochrome P450-dependent oxidative metabolism significantly suppressed the elevated plasma ALT levels and depleted hepatic glutathione. Among the innate immune factors, the hepatic mRNA levels of NACHT, LRR, pyrin domain-containing protein 3, interleukin-1β, and damage-associated molecular patterns were significantly increased. Prostaglandin E1 treatment ameliorated the hepatic injury caused by DPH. In conclusion, cytochrome P450-dependent metabolic activation followed by the stimulation of the innate immune responses is involved in DPH-induced liver injury.