The dose-response relationship for biomarkers of exposure (N2-ethylidene-dG adducts) and effect (cell survival and micronucleus formation) was determined across 4.5 orders of magnitude (50nM–2mM) using [13C2]-acetaldehyde exposures to human lymphoblastoid TK6 cells for 12h. There was a clear increase in exogenous N2-ethylidene-dG formation at exposure concentrations ≥ 1µM, whereas the endogenous adducts remained nearly constant across all exposure concentrations, with an average of 3.0 adducts/107 dG. Exogenous adducts were lower than endogenous adducts at concentrations ≤ 10µM and were greater than endogenous adducts at concentrations ≥ 250µM. When the endogenous and exogenous adducts were summed together, statistically significant increases in total adduct formation over the endogenous background occurred at 50µM. Cell survival and micronucleus formation were monitored across the exposure range and statistically significant decreases in cell survival and increases in micronucleus formation occurred at ≥ 1000µM. This research supports the hypothesis that endogenously produced reactive species, including acetaldehyde, are always present and constitute the majority of the observed biological effects following very low exposures to exogenous acetaldehyde. These data can replace default assumptions of linear extrapolation to very low doses of exogenous acetaldehyde for risk prediction.
Positron emission tomography (PET) is an effective tool for noninvasive examination of the body and provides a range of functional information. PET imaging with [18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose ([18F]FDG) has been used to image alterations in glucose metabolism in brain or cancer tissue in the field of clinical diagnosis but not in the field of toxicology. A single dose of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist induces neuronal cell degeneration/death in the rat retrosplenial/posterior cingulate (RS/PC) cortex region. These antagonists also increase local cerebral glucose utilization. Here, we examined the potential of [18F]FDG-PET as an imaging biomarker of neurotoxicity induced by an NMDA receptor antagonist, MK-801. Using [18F]FDG-PET, we determined that increased glucose utilization involved the neurotoxicity induced by MK-801. The accumulation of [18F]FDG was increased in the rat RS/PC cortex region showing neuronal cell degeneration/death and detected before the onset of neuronal cell death. This effect increased at a dose level at which neuronal cell degeneration recovered 24h after MK-801 administration. Scopolamine prevented the neurotoxicity and [18F]FDG accumulation induced by MK-801. Furthermore, in cynomolgus monkeys that showed no neuronal cell degeneration/death when treated with MK-801, we noted no differences in [18F]FDG accumulation between test and control subjects in any region of the brain. These findings suggest that [18F]FDG-PET, which is available for clinical trials, may be useful in generating a predictive imaging biomarker for detecting neurotoxicity against NMDA receptor antagonists with the same pharmacological activity as MK-801.
Aldehyde oxidase (AOX) metabolizes many xenobiotics in vitro, but its importance in vivo is usually unknown relative to cytochrome P450s (CYPs) and other detoxification systems. Currently, the most important insecticides are neonicotinoids, which are metabolized in vitro by AOX on reduction of the nitroimino group and by CYPs via oxidation reactions. The goal of this study was to establish the relative importance of AOX and CYPs in vivo using the mouse model. The procedure was to reduce liver AOX activity by providing tungsten or hydralazine in the drinking water or to use the AOX-deficient DBA/2 mouse strain. None of these approaches reduced CYP activity measured in vitro with an isozyme nonspecific substrate. Liver AOX activity was reduced by 45% with tungsten and 61% with hydralazine and 81% in AOX-deficient mice relative to controls. When mice were treated ip with the major neonicotinoid imidacloprid (IMI), metabolism by CYP oxidation reactions was not appreciably affected, whereas the AOX-generated nitrosoguanidine metabolite was decreased by 30% with tungsten and 56% with hydralazine and 86% in the AOX-deficient mice. The other IMI nitroreduction metabolite, desnitro-IMI, was decreased by 55%, 65%, and 81% with tungsten, hydralazine, and in the AOX-deficient mice, respectively. Thus, decreasing liver AOX activity by three quite different procedures gave a corresponding decrease for in vivo reductive metabolites in the liver of IMI-treated mice. Possible AOX involvement in IMI metabolism in insects was evaluated using AOX-expressing and AOX-deficient Drosophila, but no differences were found in IMI nitroreduction or sensitivity between the two strains. This is the first study to establish the in vivo relevance of AOX in neonicotinoid metabolism in mammals and one of the first for xenobiotics in general.
To assess the impact of a mixture containing dioxin-like and non-dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), male mice were initiated with N-nitroso-diethylamine and subsequently treated with PCB126, an Ah-Receptor agonist, and PCB153, acting via activation of the constitutive androstane receptor. The two congeners were given at two dose levels: the low dose was adjusted to induce ~150-fold increases in cytochrome P450 (Cyp)1a1 (PCB126) and Cyp2b10 mRNAs (PCB153), and the high dose was chosen as twice the low dose. To keep the liver PCB levels constant, mice were given initial loading doses followed by weekly maintenance doses calculated on the basis of the PCBs’ half-lives. Mice were treated with the individual congeners (low and high dose) or with a mixture consisting of the low doses of the 2 PCBs. The following results were obtained: (1) the 2 PCBs produced dose-dependent increases in Cyp1a1 and Cyp2b10 mRNA, protein, and activity when given individually; (2) combined treatment caused more than additive effects on Cyp1a1 mRNA expression, protein level, and ethoxyresurofin activity; (3) changes in the levels of several proteins were detected by proteome analysis in livers of PCB-treated mice; (4) besides these biological responses, the individual PCBs caused no significant increase in the number of glucose-6-phospatase (G6Pase)–deficient neoplastic lesions in liver, whereas a moderate significant effect occurred in the combination group. These results suggest weak but significant response-additive effects of the 2 PCBs when given in combination. They also suggest that the Cyp biomarkers tend to overestimate the carcinogenic response produced by the PCBs in mouse liver.
In mice, in utero exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p- dioxin (TCDD) reduces the number of dorsolateral prostatic buds resulting in a smaller dorsolateral prostate and prevents formation of ventral buds culminating in ventral prostate agenesis. The genes and signaling pathways affected by TCDD that are responsible for disrupting prostate development are largely unknown. Here we show that treatment of urogenital sinus (UGS) organ cultures with known inhibitors of canonical Wnt signaling also inhibits prostatic bud formation. In support of the hypothesis that TCDD decreases canonical Wnt signaling, we identify inhibitory effects of TCDD on multiple components of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway in the UGS that temporally coincide with the inhibitory effect of TCDD on prostatic bud formation: (1) expression of R-spondins (Rspo2 and Rspo3) that promote canonical Wnt signaling is reduced; (2) expression of Lef1, Tcf1, and Wif1, established canonical Wnt target genes, is decreased; (3) expression of Lgr5, a RSPO receptor that activates canonical Wnt signaling, is reduced; and (4) expression of Dickkopfs (Dkks), inhibitors of canonical Wnt signaling, is not increased by TCDD. Thus, the TCDD-induced reduction in canonical Wnt signaling is associated with a decrease in activators (Rspo2 and Rspo3) rather than an increase in inhibitors (Dkk1 and Dkk2) of the pathway. This study focuses on determining whether treatment of TCDD-exposed UGS organ cultures with RSPO2 and/or RSPO3 is capable of rescuing the inhibitory effects of TCDD on canonical Wnt signaling and prostatic bud formation. We discovered that each RSPO alone or in combination partially rescues TCDD inhibition of both canonical Wnt signaling and prostatic bud formation.
2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)–elicited time- and dose-dependent differential gene expression was compared in human, mouse, and rat primary hepatocytes. Comprehensive time course (10 nM TCDD or dimethyl sulfoxide vehicle control for 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, and 48h) studies identified 495, 2305, and 711 differentially expressed orthologous genes in human, mouse, and rat hepatocytes, respectively. However, only 16 orthologs were differentially expressed across all three species, with the majority of orthologs exhibiting species-specific expression (399 human, 2097 mouse, and 533 rat), consistent with species-specific expression reported in other in vitro and in vivo comparative studies. TCDD also elicited the dose-dependent induction of 397 human, 100 mouse, and 443 rat genes at 12h and 615 human, 426 mouse, and 314 rat genes at 24h. Comparable EC50 values were obtained for AhR battery genes including Cyp1a1 (0.1 nM human, 0.05 nM mouse, 0.08 nM rat at 24h) and Tiparp (0.97 nM human, 0.63 nM mouse, 0.14 nM rat at 12h). Overrepresented functions and pathways included amino acid metabolism in humans, immune response in mice, and energy homeostasis in rats. Differentially expressed genes functionally associated with lipid transport, processing, and metabolism were overrepresented in all three species but exhibited species-specific expression consistent with the induction of hepatic steatosis in mice but not in rats following a single oral gavage of TCDD. Furthermore, human primary hepatocytes showed lipid accumulation following 48h of treatment with TCDD, suggesting that AhR-mediated steatosis in mice more closely resembles human hepatic fat accumulation compared with that in rats. Collectively, these results suggest that species-specific gene expression profiles mediate the species-specific effects of TCDD despite the conservation of the AhR and its signaling mechanism.
Drug-induced human hepatotoxicity is difficult to predict using the current in vitro systems. In this study, long-term 3D organotypic cultures of the human hepatoma HepaRG cell line were prepared using a high-throughput hanging drop method. The organotypic cultures were maintained for 3 weeks and assessed for (1) liver specific functions, including phase I enzyme and transporter activities, (2) expression of liver-specific proteins, and (3) responses to three drugs (acetaminophen, troglitazone, and rosiglitazone). Our results show that the organotypic cultures maintain high liver-specific functionality during 3 weeks of culture. The immunohistochemistry analyses illustrate that the organotypic cultures express liver-specific markers such as albumin, CYP3A4, CYP2E1, and MRP-2 throughout the cultivation period. Accordingly, the production rates of albumin and glucose, as well as CYP2E1 activity, were significantly higher in the 3D versus the 2D cultures. Toxicity studies show that the organotypic cultures are more sensitive to acetaminophen- and rosiglitazone-induced toxicity but less sensitive to troglitazone-induced toxicity than the 2D cultures. Furthermore, the EC50 value (2.7mM) for acetaminophen on the 3D cultures was similar to in vivo toxicity. In summary, the results from our study suggest that the 3D organotypic HepaRG culture is a promising in vitro tool for more accurate assessment of acute and also possibly for chronic drug-induced hepatotoxicity.
Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) are one of the most commonly produced nanomaterials, and pulmonary exposure during production, use, and disposal is a concern for the developing nanotechnology field. The airway epithelium is the first line of defense against inhaled particles. In a mouse model, MWCNT were reported to reach the alveolar space of the lung after in vivo exposure, penetrate the epithelial lining, and result in inflammation and progressive fibrosis. This study sought to determine the cellular and gene expression changes in small airway epithelial cells (SAEC) after in vitro exposure to MWCNT in an effort to elucidate potential toxicity mechanisms and signaling pathways. A direct interaction between SAEC and MWCNT was confirmed by both internalization of MWCNT and interaction at the cell periphery. Following exposure, SAEC showed time-dependent increases in reactive oxygen species production, total protein phosphotyrosine and phosphothreonine levels, and migratory behavior. Analysis of gene and protein expression suggested altered regulation of multiple biomarkers of lung damage, carcinogenesis, and tumor progression, as well as genes involved in related signaling pathways. These results demonstrate that MWCNT exposure resulted in the activation of SAEC. Gene expression data derived from MWCNT exposure provide information that may be used to elucidate the underlying mode of action of MWCNT in the small airway and suggest potential prognostic gene signatures for risk assessment.
A deficit in zinc (Zn) availability can increase cell oxidant production, affect the antioxidant defense system, and trigger oxidant-sensitive signals in neuronal cells. This work tested the hypothesis that a decreased Zn availability can affect glutathione (GSH) metabolism in the developing rat brain and in neuronal cells in culture, as well as the capacity of human neuroblastoma IMR-32 cells to upregulate GSH when challenged with dopamine (DA). GSH levels were low in the brain of gestation day 19 (GD19) fetuses from dams fed marginal Zn diets throughout gestation and in Zn-deficient IMR-32 cells. -Glutamylcysteine synthetase (GCL), the first enzyme in the GSH synthetic pathway, was altered by Zn deficiency (ZD). The protein and mRNA levels of the GCL modifier (GCLM) and catalytic (GCLC) subunits were lower in the Zn-deficient GD19 fetal brain and in IMR-32 cells compared with controls. The nuclear translocation of transcription factor nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2, which controls GCL transcription, was impaired by ZD. Posttranslationally, the caspase-3-dependent GCLC cleavage was high in Zn-deficient IMR-32 cells. Cells challenged with DA showed an increase in GCLM and GCLC protein and mRNA levels and a consequent increase in GSH concentration. Although Zn-deficient cells partially upregulated GCL subunits after exposure to DA, GSH content remained low. In summary, results show that a low Zn availability affects the GSH synthetic pathway in neuronal cells and fetal brain both at transcriptional and posttranslational levels. This can in part underlie the GSH depletion associated with ZD and the high sensitivity of Zn-deficient neurons to pro-oxidative stressors.
Developmental HgCl2 exposures of F1 offspring (H-2q/s) from unsociable SJL/J (H-2s) dams with high susceptibility to Hg-induced autoimmunity (SFvF1) and from highly sociable FVB/NJ (FVB; H-2q) dams with lower susceptibility to Hg-induced autoimmunity (FvSF1) were investigated. Hg exposure increased the serum IgG levels of all offspring at postnatal day 21 (pnd21) and of SJL/J dams but not of FVB dams. Serum IgG anti-brain antibody (Ab) levels of pnd21 SFvF1 offspring and SJL dams were higher than those of the FvSF1 offspring and FVB dams, but Hg only increased the titers of the FVB dams and their offspring. Hg significantly elevated the presence of IgG in all brain regions of the pnd21 SFvF1 offspring, and the SFvF1 offspring had greater amounts of IgG in the brain than the FvSF1 offspring, which had Hg-induced increases in only two brain regions. Cytokine levels were elevated in the brain regions of Hg-treated pnd21 SFvF1 but not of FvSF1 offspring, and SFvF1 females had more brain regions expressing cytokines than the males. At pnd70, the serum IgG, serum antibrain Abs, amounts of brain IgG, and brain cytokine levels of all of the Hg-treated offspring were equivalent to those of their appropriate controls, suggesting that developmental Hg exposure did not induce chronic immunological effects. However, the social behaviors of Hg-exposed SFvF1 offspring at pnd70 were significantly impaired, and SFvF1 females displayed greater decline in social behaviors than males, suggesting that the higher neuroinflammation of SFvF1 females earlier in life is associated with the altered behavior. Thus, developmental Hg exposure induces long-lasting effects on social behavior of offspring, which is dependent on sex and genetics and the induction of neuroinflammation.
Maternal exposure to the neurotoxin methylmercury (MeHg) has been shown to have adverse effects on neural development of the offspring in man. Little is known about the underlying mechanisms by which MeHg affects the developing brain. To explore the neurodevelopmental defects and the underlying mechanism associated with MeHg exposure, the cerebellum and cerebrum of Wistar rat pups were analyzed by [18F]FDG PET functional imaging, field potential analysis, and microarray gene expression profiling. Female rat pups were exposed to MeHg via maternal diet during intrauterinal and lactational period (from gestational day 6 to postnatal day (PND)10), and their brain tissues were sampled for the analysis at weaning (PND18–21) and adulthood (PND61–70). The [18F]FDG PET imaging and field potential analysis suggested a delay in brain activity and impaired neural function by MeHg. Genome-wide transcriptome analysis substantiated these findings by showing (1) a delay in the onset of gene expression related to neural development, and (2) alterations in pathways related to both structural and functional aspects of nervous system development. The latter included changes in gene expression of developmental regulators, developmental phase–associated genes, small GTPase signaling molecules, and representatives of all processes required for synaptic transmission. These findings were observed at dose levels at which only marginal changes in conventional developmental toxicity endpoints were detected. Therefore, the approaches applied in this study are promising in terms of yielding increased sensitivity compared with classical developmental toxicity tests.
The purpose of this study was to characterize methylmercury (MeHg)–induced dopamine (DA) release from undifferentiated pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells and to examine the potential role for DA synthesis in this process. MeHg caused a significant increase in DA release that was both concentration- and time-dependent. DA release was significantly increased by 2µM MeHg at 60min and by 5µM MeHg at 30min; 1µM MeHg was without effect. Because DA release induced by 5µM MeHg was associated with a significant percentage of cell death at 60 and 120min, 2µM MeHg was chosen for further characterization of release mechanisms. MeHg-induced DA release was attenuated but not abolished in the absence of extracellular calcium, whereas the vesicular content depleting drug reserpine (50nM) abolished release. Thus, MeHg-induced DA release requires vesicular exocytosis but not extracellular calcium. MeHg also increased intracellular DA and the rate of DA storage utilization, suggesting a role for DA synthesis in MeHg-induced DA release. The tyrosine hydroxylase inhibitor α-methyltyrosine (300µM, 24h) completely abolished MeHg-induced DA release. MeHg significantly increased DA precursor accumulation in cells treated with 3-hydroxybenzylhydrazine (10µM), revealing that MeHg increases tyrosine hydroxylase activity. Overall, these data demonstrate that MeHg facilitates DA synthesis, increases intracellular DA, and augments vesicular exocytosis.
The harmful alga Pseudo-nitzschia sp. is the cause of human amnesic shellfish poisoning and the stranding of thousands of sea lions with seizures as a hallmark symptom. A human case study and epidemiological report of hundreds of stranded sea lions found individuals presenting months after recovery with a neurological disease similar to temporal lobe epilepsy. A rat model developed to establish and better predict how epileptic disease results from domoic acid poisoning demonstrated that a single episode of status epilepticus (SE), after a latent period, leads to a progressive state of spontaneous recurrent seizure (SRS) and expression of atypical aggressive behaviors. Structural damage associated with domoic acid–induced SE is prominent in olfactory pathways. Here, we examine structural damage in seven rats that progressed to epileptic disease. Diseased animals show progressive neuronal loss in the piriform cortex and degeneration of terminal fields in these layers and the posteromedial cortical amygdaloid nucleus. Animals that display aggressive behavior had additional neuronal damage to the anterior olfactory cortex. This study provides insight into the structural basis for the progression of domoic acid epileptic disease and relates to the California sea lion, where poisoned animals progress to a disease characterized by SRS and aggressive behaviors.
Firemaster 550 (FM550) is an additive flame retardant formulation of brominated and aryl phosphate ester (APE) components introduced as a major replacement product for the commercial polybrominated diphenyl ether mixture (known as PentaBDE) used primarily in polyurethane foam. However, little is known about the potential effects of FM550-based ingredients during early vertebrate development. Therefore, we first screened the developmental toxicity of each FM550 component using zebrafish as an animal model. Based on these initial screening assays, we found that exposure to the brominated components as high as 10µM resulted in no significant effects on embryonic survival or development, whereas exposure to triphenyl phosphate (TPP) or mono-substituted isopropylated triaryl phosphate (mono-ITP)—two APEs comprising almost 50% of FM550—resulted in targeted effects on cardiac looping and function during embryogenesis. As these cardiac abnormalities resembled aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) agonist–induced phenotypes, we then exposed developing embryos to TPP or mono-ITP in the presence or absence of an AHR antagonist (CH223191) or AHR2-specific morpholino. Based on these studies, we found that CH223191 blocked heart malformations following exposure to mono-ITP but not TPP, whereas AHR2 knockdown failed to block the cardiotoxic effects of both components. Finally, using a cell-based human AHR reporter assay, we found that mono-ITP (but not TPP) exposure resulted in a significant increase in human AHR-driven luciferase activity at similar nominal concentrations as a potent reference AHR agonist (β-naphthoflavone). Overall, our findings suggest that two major APE components of FM550 induce severe cardiac abnormalities during early vertebrate development.
Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure is ubiquitous, and in laboratory animals, early-life BPA exposure has been shown to alter sex-specific neural organization, neuroendocrine physiology, and behavior. The specific mechanisms underlying these brain-related outcomes, however, remain largely unknown, constraining the capacity to ascertain the potential human relevance of neural effects observed in animal models. In the perinatal rat brain, estrogen is masculinizing, suggesting that BPA-induced perturbation of estrogen receptor (ESR) expression may underpin later in-life neuroendocrine effects. We hypothesized that prenatal BPA exposure alters sex-specific ESR1 (ERα) and ESR2 (ERβ) expression in postnatal limbic nuclei. Sprague Dawley rats were mated and gavaged on gestational days (GDs) 6–21 with vehicle, 2.5 or 25 μg/kg bw/day BPA, or 5 or 10 μg/kg bw/day ethinyl estradiol. An additional group was restrained but not gavaged (naïve control). Offspring were sacrificed the day after birth to quantify ESR gene expression throughout the hypothalamus and amygdala by in situ hybridization. Relative to the vehicle group, significant effects of BPA were observed on ESR1 and ESR2 expression throughout the mediobasal hypothalamus and amygdala in both sexes. Significant differences in ESR expression were also observed in the mediobasal hypothalamus and amygdala of the naïve control group compared with the vehicle group, highlighting the potential for gavage to influence gene expression in the developing brain. These results indicate that ESR expression in the neonatal brain of both sexes can be altered by low-dose prenatal BPA exposure.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an estrogenizing endocrine disruptor compound of concern. Our objective was to test whether lifelong BPA would impact cardiac structure/function, calcium homeostasis protein expression, and the DNA methylation of cardiac genes. We delivered 0.5 and 5.0 µg/kg/day BPA lifelong from gestation day 11 or 200 µg/kg/day from gestation day 11 to postnatal day 21 via the drinking water to C57bl/6n mice. BPA 5.0 males and females had increased body weight, body mass index, body surface area, and adiposity. Echocardiography identified concentric remodeling in all BPA-treated males. Systolic and diastolic cardiac functions were essentially similar, but lifelong BPA enhanced male and reduced female sex-specific differences in velocity of circumferential shortening and ascending aorta velocity time integral. Diastolic blood pressure was increased in all BPA females. The calcium homeostasis proteins sarcoendoplasmic reticulum ATPase 2a (SERCA2a), sodium calcium exchanger-1, phospholamban (PLB), phospho-PLB, and calsequestrin 2 are important for contraction and relaxation. Changes in their expression suggest increased calcium mobility in males and reduced calcium mobility in females supporting the cardiac function changes. DNA methyltransferase 3a expression was increased in all BPA males and BPA 0.5 females and reduced in BPA 200 females. Global DNA methylation was increased in BPA 0.5 males and reduced in BPA 0.5 females. BPA induced sex-specific altered DNA methylation in specific CpG pairs in the calsequestrin 2 CpG island. These results suggest that continual exposure to BPA impacts cardiac structure/function, protein expression, and epigenetic DNA methylation marks in males and females.
Deoxynivalenol (DON, vomitoxin), a trichothecene mycotoxin produced by Fusarium sp. that frequently occurs in cereal grains, has been associated with human and animal food poisoning. Although a common hallmark of DON-induced toxicity is the rapid onset of emesis, the mechanisms for this adverse effect are not fully understood. Recently, our laboratory has demonstrated that the mink (Neovison vison) is a suitable small animal model for investigating trichothecene-induced emesis. The goal of this study was to use this model to determine the roles of two gut satiety hormones, peptide YY3–36 (PYY3–36) and cholecystokinin (CCK), and the neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in DON-induced emesis. Following ip exposure to DON at 0.1 and 0.25mg/kg bw, emesis induction ensued within 15–30min and then persisted up to 120min. Plasma DON measurement revealed that this emesis period correlated with the rapid distribution and clearance of the toxin. Significant elevations in both plasma PYY3–36 (30–60min) and 5-HT (60min) but not CCK were observed during emesis. Pretreatment with the neuropeptide Y2 receptor antagonist JNJ-31020028 attenuated DON- and PYY-induced emesis, whereas the CCK1 receptor antagonist devezapide did not alter DON’s emetic effects. The 5-HT3 receptor antagonist granisetron completely suppressed induction of vomiting by DON and the 5-HT inducer cisplatin. Granisetron pretreatment also partially blocked PYY3–36-induced emesis, suggesting a potential upstream role for this gut satiety hormone in 5-HT release. Taken together, the results suggest that both PYY3–36 and 5-HT play contributory roles in DON-induced emesis.