The Journal of Toxicological Sciences


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Publications in this journal

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    ABSTRACT: The widely used antiepileptic drug valproic acid (VPA) is known to exhibit teratogenicity in the form of a failure of the neural tube in humans. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are reported to be a promising cell source for evaluating chemical teratogenicity, because they are capable of reproducing embryonic developmental model and enable reduction in the number of experimental animals used. We previously investigated 22 genes for which expressions are altered by teratogens, specifically focusing on neural differentiation of mouse ESCs. In the present study, expressions of the investigated genes were evaluated by quantitative real-time PCR and compared during differentiation of human ESCs into neurons with or without VPA. Under the conditions, almost all gene expressions significantly changed in VPA-containing culture. Specifically, in neural development-related genes such as DCX, ARX, MAP2, and NNAT, more than 2-fold expression was observed. The findings suggest that the genes focused on in this study may help to elucidate the teratogenic effects of VPA and might be a useful tool to analyze embryotoxic potential of chemicals in humans.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(3):383-90.
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    ABSTRACT: Professional exposures to respirable dusts from phosphate mines are associated with the development of an inflammatory response and airways diseases. This study was performed on 12 phosphate workers versus 8 unexposed controls, including smokers and non-smokers. It consisted of assessing the incidence of phosphate dusts exposure associated or not with smoking on the plasmatic inflammatory status of phosphate mine workers versus controls. The following parameters were studied: hematological profile and plasma level of seven cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, tumor necrosis Factor (TNF-α), macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP-1β)) and two eicosanoids (leucotriene B-4 (LTB-4) and 15(S)-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (15(S)-HETE)) measured by a multiplexed flow cytometric method (CBA: Cytometric Bead Array) or ELISA. In phosphate workers, mainly smokers, the level of white blood cells (WBCs) and lymphocytes (LYM) was significantly higher as compared with controls. This was associated with enhanced levels of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, MIP-1β, and LTB-4. In smokers (including phosphate mine workers and controls), the level of LYM was also significantly higher than in controls. Based on a logistic regression analysis, smoker phosphate mine workers have a higher relative risk than controls to have an increase concentration of some cytokines, especially IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, and MIP-1β. Moreover, the combined effect of smoking and phosphate dusts exposure increases the level of leucocytes as well as the concentration of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, MIP1-β, and LTB-4. The present study demonstrates that phosphate dusts are able to trigger a systemic inflammatory reaction characterized by enhanced levels of circulating immunocompetent cells, plasmatic cytokines and eicosanoids, and it establishes that these side effects are enhanced by smoking.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(3):465-74.
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    ABSTRACT: As drug-induced seizures have severe impact on drug development, evaluating seizure induction potential of candidate drugs at the early stages of drug discovery is important. A novel assay system using zebrafish has attracted interest as a high throughput toxicological in vivo assay system, and we tried to establish an experimental method for drug-induced seizure liability on the basis of locomotor activity in zebrafish. We monitored locomotor activity at high-speed movement (> 20 mm/sec) for 60 min immediately after exposure, and assessed seizure liability potential in some drugs using locomotor activity. However this experimental procedure was not sufficient for predicting seizures because the potential of several drugs with demonstrated seizure potential in mammals was not detected. We, therefore, added other parameters for locomotor activity such as extending exposure time or conducting flashlight stimulation (10 Hz) which is a known seizure induction stimulus, and these additional parameters improved seizure potential detection in some drugs. The validation study using the improved methodology was used to assess 52 commercially available drugs, and the prediction rate was approximately 70%. The experimental protocol established in this present study is considered useful for seizure potential screening during early stages of drug discovery.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(4):579-600.
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    ABSTRACT: Betel-quid use is associated with the risk of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the impact of arecoline on human hepatic cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes in vitro and rat hepatic CYP enzymes, as well as the hepatic oxidative stress and liver injury of rats in vivo. The in vitro results indicated that arecoline hydrobromide (AH) has no significant effect on the activities of CYP2B, 2C9, 3A4, 1A2, 2E1 and 2D6 in human liver microsome (HLM). However, oral administration of AH at 4 and 20 mg/kg/d for seven consecutive days significantly increased the activities of rat hepatic CYP2B, 2E1, 2D, 3A, 2C and 1A2. In addition, AH at 100 mg/kg/d significantly increased the levels of ALT, AST and MDA, decreased the levels of SOD, CAT, GSH-Px and GSH, in rat liver. The in vivo induction of AH on rat hepatic CYP isoforms suggested that the high risk of metabolic interaction should be existed when the substrate drugs of the six kinds of CYP isoforms was administered in betel-quid use human. Furthermore, the in vivo results also suggested that AH-induced hepatoxicity should be associated with the induction of AH on rat hepatic CYP2E1 and 2B.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(4):609-14.
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    ABSTRACT: Wistar Hannover rats have been utilized as one of major strains in regulatory toxicology studies. This study was performed to verify the appropriate age of male sexual maturity in the development and reproductive toxicity (DART) study in Wistar Hannover rats (RccHan:WIST) by comparing reproductive endpoints between 8, 10 and 12 weeks of ages. Although fertility showed a tendency toward decrease in 8-week-old males, copulation index was not different among three ages. Testis weights reached a plateau at 10 weeks of age, whereas weights of other reproductive organs developed until 12 weeks of age. Indices of spermatogenesis (sperm motility, number of sperm in the epididymis and testis and contents of morphologically abnormal sperm) showed age-related progress and did not fully develop except for 12-week-old. For histology, epididymal tubules in 8-week-old animals showed immaturity with tall epithelium. At cesarean section, dams mated with 8-week-old males showed high incidence of preimplantation loss and the number of live fetuses was less than 10. In conclusion, although reproductive performance attained maturity by age of 10 weeks, spermatogenesis was not fully established at 10-week-old, which could result in a low fertility index. Therefore, we recommend that Wistar Hannover male rats at 12-week-old or older are used to conduct DART study properly and evaluate any adverse effects on dams and embryo-fetal development.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(2):269-79.
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    ABSTRACT: One of the mechanisms of phototoxicity is photo-reaction, such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation following photo-absorption. We focused on ROS generation and photo-absorption as key-steps, because these key-steps are able to be described by photochemical properties, and these properties are dependent on chemical structure. Photo-reactivity of a compound is described by HOMOLUMO Gap (HLG), generally. Herein, we showed that HLG can be used as a descriptor of the generation of reactive oxygen species. Moreover, the maximum-conjugated π electron number (PENMC), which we found as a descriptor of photo-absorption, could also predict in vitro phototoxicity. Each descriptor could predict in vitro phototoxicity with 70.0% concordance, but there was un-predicted area found (gray zone). Interestingly, some compounds in each gray zone were not common, indicating that the combination of two descriptors could improve prediction potential. We reset the cut-off lines to define positive zone, negative zone and gray zone for each descriptor. Thereby we overlapped HLG and PENMC in a graph, and divided the total area to nine zones with cut-off lines of each descriptor. The rules to prediction were decided to achieve the best concordance, and the concordances were improved up to 82.8% for selfvalidation, 81.6% for cross-validation. We found common properties among false positive or negative compounds, photo-reactive structure and photo-allergenic, respectively. In addition, our method could be adapted to compounds rich in structural diversity using only chemical structure without any statistical analysis and complicated calculation.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(4):655-64.
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    ABSTRACT: The effects of five types of metal nanoparticles, gold (Au), silver (Ag), platinum (Pt), Au-polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) colloid, and Pt-PVP colloid, and two types of hydrophilic carbon black on cell behavior were examined. Stable nanoparticle dispersions were prepared and applied to the culture medium of human keratinocyte (HaCaT) and human lung carcinoma (A549) cells for 6 and 24 hr. Then, the mitochondrial activity (MTT assay) and the induction of cellular oxidative stress were examined. The exposure to Au and Ag decreased mitochondrial activity. The exposure to Pt nanoparticles induced an increase in the intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level. In contrast, Au-PVP, Pt-PVP, and hydrophilic carbon black did not exhibit any effects. The observed increase in the ROS level induced by the Pt nanoparticles in this study contradicted our previous findings, in which Pt did not produce chemically reactive molecules. Some nanoparticle dispersions included chemicals as the dispersant, which is used in industrial applications. In some cases, the dispersing agent may have caused some cellular effects. Adsorption of agents on the surface of the nanoparticles may be an important factor here. Hence, the cellular effects of industrial nanoparticles should be evaluated carefully.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(6):897-907.
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    ABSTRACT: The role of thyroid hormones in gonad development remains incompletely understood. We examined the dose-related effects of perinatal hypothyroidism induced by a reversible goitrogen, 6-propyl-2-thiouracil (PTU), on reproductive development in male rat offspring. Timed-pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were orally administered PTU (0, 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 mg/kg/day) by gavage from gestational day 15 through postnatal day 20. We observed a significant dose-dependent decrease in body weight in offspring with PTU exposure up to 13 weeks of age, but body weight became comparable among groups by 26 weeks of age. Testicular weight tended to be lower up to 7 weeks but was higher after 13 weeks of age. Epididymis weight was not different among the groups at any age. Plasma concentrations of thyroxine and triiodothyronine in the PTU groups were significantly lower at 3 weeks of age but recovered to normal levels by 26 weeks of age. No dose-related trend in plasma testosterone concentrations was found. Seminiferous tubules were larger at 13 and 26 weeks of age with PTU exposure. The number of Sertoli cells was significantly higher from 3 through 26 weeks of age. The number of Leydig cells was significantly lower up to 7 weeks of age but was comparable among groups from 13 weeks of age onwards. Thus, transient gestational and lactational thyroid hormone suppression induced small testes in early life but led to paradoxical dose-dependent testicular enlargement in adults as indicated partly by larger seminiferous tubules with numerous Sertoli cells in male rat offspring.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(6):867-74.
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    ABSTRACT: 1-phenyl-2-(1-pyrrolidinyl)-1-pentanone (α-PVP) is a new designer drug of the cathinone type. People who have taken drugs containing α-PVP or other synthetic cathinone reportedly lose consciousness, develop difficulty breathing, and at worst case, die. However, the mechanism underlying α-PVP-induced neurotoxicity is unknown. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of α-PVP on the central nervous system (CNS) and compare its neurotoxicity with that of methamphetamine (METH) in mice. Balb/c male mice (8 weeks old) were orally administered α-PVP (25 mg/kg) or METH (5 mg/kg). α-PVP induced a significant increase in locomotor activity, which occurred earlier than locomotor activity induced by METH. This increase was inhibited by the D1 receptor antagonist SCH23990 (50 µg/kg, i.p.) and the D2 receptor antagonist sulpiride (50 mg/kg, i.m.). The extracellular concentration of dopamine (DA) in the striatum, determined by in vivo microdialysis increased immediately after α-PVP administration. These results suggest that α-PVP stimulates DA release, causing an increase in locomotor activity, and that this stimulatory effect of α-PVP on CNS is mediated, at least in part, by the D1 and D2 receptors.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(1):1-6.
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    ABSTRACT: We previously showed that nucleotide P2 receptor agonists such as ATP and UTP amplify γ-ray-induced focus formation of phosphorylated histone H2A variant H2AX (γH2AX), which is considered to be an indicator of DNA damage so far, by activating purine P2Y6 and P2Y12 receptors. Therefore, we hypothesized that these P2 receptors play a role in inducing the repair response to γ-ray-induced DNA damage. In the present study, we tested this idea by using human lung cancer A549 cells. First, reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) showed that P2Y6 receptor is highly expressed in A549 cells, but P2Y12 receptor is only weakly expressed. Next, colony formation assay revealed that P2Y6 receptor antagonist MRS2578 markedly reduced the survival rate of γ-ray-exposed A549 cells. The survival rate was also significantly reduced in P2Y6-knock-down cells, compared with scramble siRNA-transfected cells. Since it has reported that phosphorylation of ERK1/2 after activation of EGFR via P2Y6 and P2Y12 receptors is involved in the repair response to γ-ray-induced DNA damage, we next examined whether γ-ray-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2 was also inhibited by MRS2578 in A549 cells. We found that it was. Taken together, these findings indicate that purinergic signaling through P2Y6 receptor, followed by ERK1/2 activation, promotes the cellular repair response to γ-ray-induced DNA damage.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(1):15-23.
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    ABSTRACT: The neuroprotective effects of dexmedetomidine have been reported by many investigators; however its underlying mechanism to reduce neuronal injury during a prolonged anesthesia remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the neurotoxic effects of dexmedetomidine in fetal monkey brains. In the present study, we compare the neurotoxic effects of dexmedetomidine and ketamine, a general anesthetic with a different mechanism of action, in fetal cynomolgus monkeys. Twenty pregnant monkeys at approximate gestation day 120 were divided into 4 groups: non-treatment controls (Group 1); ketamine at 20 mg/kg intramuscularly followed by a 12-hr infusion at 20-50 mg/kg/hr (Group 2); dexmedetomidine at 3 µg/kg intravenously (i.v.) over 10 min followed by a 12-hr infusion at the human equivalent dose (HED) of 3 µg/kg/hr (Group 3); and dexmedetomidine at 30 µg/kg i.v. over 10 min followed by a 12-hr infusion at 30 µg/kg/hr, 10 times HED (Group 4). Blood samples from both dams and fetuses were measured for concentration of dexmedetomidine. Each fetus was perfusion-fixed, serial sections were cut through the frontal cortex, and stained to detect for apoptosis (activated caspase 3 and TUNEL) and neurodegeneration (silver stain). In utero treatment with ketamine resulted in marked apoptosis and degeneration primarily in layers I and II of the frontal cortex. In contrast, fetal brains from animals treated with dexmedetomidine showed none to minimal neuroapoptotic or neurodegenerative lesions at both low- and high-dose treatments. Plasma levels confirmed systemic exposure of dexmedetomidine in both dams and fetuses. In conclusion, these results demonstrate that dexmedetomidine at both low-dose (HED) and high-dose (10 times HED) does not induce apoptosis in the frontal cortex (layers I, II, and III) of developing brain of cynomolgus monkeys.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(2):251-62.
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    ABSTRACT: 2-Cyano-3, 12-dioxooleana-1, 9-dien-28-oic acid methyl ester (CDDO-Me; bardoxolone methyl) is one of the synthetic oleanane triterpenoids (SOs). It is known that it is the strongest Nrf2/ARE signaling inducer of SOs and slightly inhibits immune response. Little was known about the immunomodulatory action of CDDO-Me in vivo. We assessed its immunosuppressive potential by using the modified mouse lymph node assay (LLNA) including immunosuppression-related gene expression analysis. In the modified LLNA, CDDO-Me showed a significant decrease in lymph node weight and changes in expressions of the immunosuppression-related genes, Zfp459 and Fmo2. It has been already reported that a decrease in lymph node weight was induced by several types of immunosuppressive chemicals such as calcineurin inhibitors, antimetabolites, steroids, and alkylators. In addition, changes in Zfp459 and Fmo2 expression was reported in response after only treatment of antimetabolites. From these results, CDDO-Me is considered to have an immunosuppressive action and similar mechanism to antimetabolites.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(4):545-50.
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    ABSTRACT: Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) is a constitutively expressed molecular chaperone and plays an important role in the folding of client proteins with key regulatory roles in growth, survival, differentiation and metastasis. Because inhibition of Hsp90 degrades multiple oncogenic client proteins, it is considered to be an attractive anticancer therapy, and clinical trials of several Hsp90 inhibitors have been carried out. In the present study, two structurally distinct Hsp90 inhibitors, CH5164840 and CH5449302, were orally administered to beagle dogs to evaluate systemic toxicity. CH5164840 induced symptoms that suggest visual disorder, and ophthalmological observation and electroretinography (ERG) revealed loss of pupillary light reflex and abnormal waveforms, respectively. Histopathological examination showed changes in the photoreceptor cell layer and the outer nuclear layer of retina. On the other hand, while there were no clinical symptoms related to visual disorder, animals treated with CH5449302 showed similar abnormalities of ERG responses and histopathological changes in the photoreceptor cell layer and the outer nuclear layer of retina. The visual symptoms and abnormalities of ERG responses were noted at an earlier stage or lower dose than other toxicities in both compounds. Considering that two structurally distinct Hsp90 inhibitors induced a retinal toxicity in dogs after repeated administration, and that visual disorders were also reported in some clinical trials of Hsp90 inhibitors, it would seem highly likely that Hsp90 inhibition induces retinal toxicity. Also, our study indicated that a detailed ocular examination to evaluate the safety of Hsp90 inhibitors would be useful in both preclinical and clinical studies.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(1):59-69.
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    ABSTRACT: Advances in the synthesis and utilization of new chemical compounds have led to improvements in our daily lives. However, new chemicals may be both beneficial and toxic. Thus, exposure to these new compounds should be restricted in an attempt to limit their potential toxicities. We predicted the safety of three biocides (p-cresol, diazinon and resmethrin) by comparing their skin permeability coefficients and desquamation rate (the counter flux of permeability coefficient for chemical compounds induced by skin turnover) following skin exposure. In vitro skin permeation experiments revealed that the permeability coefficients of diazinon and resmethrin were smaller than the desquamation rate; therefore, these biocides could not permeate the skin, which resulted in very low skin concentrations of these compounds. On the other hand, the skin concentration of p-cresol was high because of its higher permeability coefficient than the desquamation rate. Furthermore, low in vitro cell viability was reported for skin exposed to p-cresol. These results in the present study indicate that the method described herein is useful for predicting the toxicities of chemicals following their topical exposure.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(3):475-85.
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    ABSTRACT: The psychoactive recreational drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is widely abused. The fact that MDMA induces neurotoxic damage in serotonergic nerve endings is well known. However, the effects of MDMA on pregnant and neonatal animals remain unknown. Therefore, we studied the effects of gestational exposure to MDMA on birth, growth, and behavior of pups. Female BALB/c mice were orally administered either water (10 ml/kg) or MDMA (20 mg/10 ml/kg) from gestational day 1 to postnatal day (P) 21. MDMA did not affect the birth rate, but the survival rate of the pups significantly decreased. A significant reduction in body weight gain was observed in pups from MDMA-administered dams during P3-P21. Maternal MDMA treatment caused an attenuated cliff avoidance reaction and decreased motor function in the pups, as determined by the wire hanging test. These results suggest that MDMA treatment during pregnancy and lactation causes growth retardation and dysfunction of motor neurons in mouse pups.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(1):33-9.
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    ABSTRACT: Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) airway inhalation represents an additional route of exposure to this toxin. However, the association between AFB1 inhalation and serum AFB1 albumin adducts remains unclear. The aim of this study was to explore the association between airway exposure to AFB1 and serum AFB1 albumin adduct concentrations via an epidemiological study, as well as in an AFB1 airway exposure animal model. Our epidemiological study was conducted in a sugar factory in the Guangxi Autonomous Region of China. In order to examine fungal contamination, air samples were obtained in the workshop and areas outside the workshop, such as the office and nearby store. Dust samples were also collected from the bagasse warehouse and presser workshop, and were analyzed using an indirect competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Additionally, blood samples were collected from a total of 121 workshop workers, and a control group (n = 80) was comprised of workers who undertook administrative tasks or other work outside the workshop. The animal experiment was conducted in the laboratory animal center of Guangxi Medical University, where a total of 60 adult male rabbits were involved in this study. By intubation, AFB1 was administered in three groups of rabbits daily, at dose rates of 0.075, 0.05 and 0.025 mg/kg/day for a period of 7 days. Blood samples were collected on day 1, day 3, day 7 and day 21, and the measurements of the AFB1 albumin adducts in the serum were performed by a double antibody sandwich ELISA. The epidemiological study showed that serum albumin adducts were detected in 67 workshop workers (55.37%), and the values ranged 6.4 pg/mg albumin to 212 pg/mg albumin (mean value: 51 ± 4.62 pg/mg albumin). In contrast, serum albumin adducts were detected in only 7 control group participants, with the values ranging from 9 pg AFB1/mg albumin to 59 pg/mg albumin (mean value: 20 ± 13.72 pg/mg albumin). The animal experiment revealed that the rabbits had detectable levels of AFB1 in their serum with a minimum effective dose of 0.05 mg/kg/day; while 11 of 17 (64.71%) rabbits had detectable levels of AFB1 albumin adducts in the high exposure group (0.075 mg/kg/day), and only 5 rabbits (26.32%) had detectable levels of AFB1 albumin adducts in the moderate exposure group (0.05 mg/kg/day). No rabbits had detectable levels of AFB1 albumin adducts in the low exposure group (0.025 mg/kg/day). Our results demonstrated that only exposure to a certain level of AFB1 would result in detectable levels of serum AFB1 albumin adducts. Interventional programs aimed at reducing exposure to AFB1 by inhalation are urgently needed in high-risk populations. Additional large-sample, well-designed randomized controlled trials are needed to further confirm our results.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(4):645-53.
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    ABSTRACT: The zebrafish has been considered as a suitable animal model for drug discovery, especially for evaluation of the teratogenicity, due to their small size, rapid development, transparency, and developmental similarities to mammalian development. These features of zebrafish make it possible to maintain them in culture plates, evaluate the teratogenicity in short term, conduct morphological assessment of each organ without any autopsy operation. The purpose of the present study was to improve an evaluation method for the teratogenicity of test compounds with high throughput ability and prediction rateusing zebrafish embryos. In this study, we established a modified evaluation method as using non-dechorionated embryos and observation a limited number of parameters without grading. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to test compounds from 5-6 to 144 hr post-fertilization, (hpf) corresponding to the organogenesis period. Morphological changes or functional abnormalities induced by test compound treatments were assessed and scored at 11 endpoints, and the potential of teratogenicity was judged based on the score. As a validation assay of the system, the potentials of 59 known teratogenic or non-teratogenic test compounds were evaluated using the present standard zebrafish assay, and the teratogenicity was correctly predicted in 90% (53/59) of all compounds with low false negative and false positive rates. These results indicated that the evaluation method using zebrafish for the teratogenicity we have improved was a valuable tool for early stage screening in drug discovery.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(3):453-64.
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    ABSTRACT: Dihydropyrazines (DHPs) are glycation products that are nonenzymatically generated in vivo and in food. In this study, we compared the effects of 2,3-dihydro-5,6-dimethylpyrazine (DHP-1), a low toxicity DHP, and 3-hydro-2,2,5,6-tetramethylpyrazine (DHP-3), a high toxicity DHP on the redox indices in HepG2 cells. An apparent increase in intracellular hydrogen peroxide concentration was observed at 24 hr after 1 mM DHP-3 treatment. In addition, DHP-3 exposure significantly increased the mRNA levels of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and glutamate cysteine ligase catalytic subunit (GCLC), which are stress-responsive genes, at 6 hr (HO-1 and GCLC), 12 hr (HO-1 and GCLC) and 24 hr (GCLC) after exposure. These indices, with the exception of the increase in GCLC mRNA after a 6 hr exposure, were not affected by treatment with 1 mM DHP-1. HO-1, GCLC, and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) protein levels also increased at 6 hr (Nrf2), 12 hr (Nrf2, HO-1 and GCLC) and 24 hr (GCLC) after DHP-3 treatment. The increase in HO-1 and Nrf2 protein levels were observed with lower concentration (0.5 mM) of DHP-3, and in agreement with this, antioxidant responsive element-luciferase reporter activity was significantly increased with exposure to at least 0.5 mM DHP-3. These results support our previous report establishing that oxidative stress is in part involved in the effects of DHP on mammalian cells. Additionally, our results suggest that the cell response to DHP-3 exposure was exerted via the activation of the Nrf2-ARE signal pathway.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(4):601-8.
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    ABSTRACT: Pau d'arco is a plant-derived traditional medicine that acts by poorly understood molecular mechanisms. Here, we studied the effect of pau d'arco on the cytoprotective transcription factor Nrf2. An aqueous extract of pau d'arco stimulated Nrf2-dependent gene expression and led to nuclear localization of Nrf2 in vitro. Chromatographic separation and mass spectrometry of the extract identified benzene trioles or benzene tetraoles within the active fractions. The extract stimulated the mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular-signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK)/extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) pathway. The pharmacological inhibition of MEK, but not of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, glycogen synthase kinase-3 or phosphoinositide 3-kinase was required for the activation of Nrf2-dependent gene expression by pau d'arco, but not for the nuclear translocation of Nrf2. In vivo pau d'arco increased the expression of Nrf2-target genes in the intestine. The results suggest that the activation of Nrf2 could mediate beneficial effects of pau d'arco, in particular in the intestine.
    The Journal of Toxicological Sciences 01/2014; 39(2):353-61.