Profiling Environmental Chemicals for Activity in the Antioxidant Response Element Signaling Pathway Using a High Throughput Screening Approach

NIH Chemical Genomics Center, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland, USA.
Environmental Health Perspectives (Impact Factor: 7.98). 05/2012; 120(8):1150-6. DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1104709
Source: PubMed


Background: Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases ranging from cancer to neurodegeneration, highlighting the need to identify chemicals that can induce this effect. The antioxidant response element (ARE) signaling pathway plays an important role in the amelioration of oxidative stress. Thus, assays that detect the up-regulation of this pathway could be useful for identifying chemicals that induce oxidative stress.
Objectives: We used cell-based reporter methods and informatics tools to efficiently screen a large collection of environmental chemicals and identify compounds that induce oxidative stress.
Methods: We utilized two cell-based ARE assay reporters, β-lactamase and luciferase, to screen a U.S. National Toxicology Program 1,408-compound library (NTP 1408, which contains 1,340 unique compounds) for their ability to induce oxidative stress in HepG2 cells using quantitative high throughput screening (qHTS).
Results: Roughly 3% (34 of 1,340) of the unique compounds demonstrated activity across both cell-based assays. Based on biological activity and structure–activity relationship profiles, we selected 50 compounds for retesting in the two ARE assays and in an additional follow-up assay that employed a mutated ARE linked to β-lactamase. Using this strategy, we identified 30 compounds that demonstrated activity in the ARE-bla and ARE-luc assays and were able to determine structural features conferring compound activity across assays.
Conclusions: Our results support the robustness of using two different cell-based approaches for identifying compounds that induce ARE signaling. Together, these methods are useful for prioritizing chemicals for further in-depth mechanism-based toxicity testing.

Download full-text


Available from: Raymond R Tice,
20 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The reporter gene assay AREc32 is based on the induction of the Nrf2 mediated oxidative stress response pathway in the human breast cancer cell line MCF7, where eight copies of the antioxidant response element (ARE) are linked to a reporter gene encoding for luciferase. The Nrf2-ARE pathway is responsive to many chemicals that cause oxidative stress, among them a large number of pesticides and skin irritants. We adopted and validated the AREc32 bioassay for water quality testing. tert-Butylhydroquinone served as the positive control, phenol as the negative control and other reactive chemicals were assessed for their specificity. An environmentally relevant reference chemical, benzo(a)pyrene was the most potent inducer of all tested chemicals. The concentration causing an induction ratio (IR) of 1.5 (EC(IR1.5)) was chosen as the effect benchmark value. The assay was applied to 21 water samples ranging from sewage to drinking water, including secondary treatment and various tertiary treatment options (ozonation, biologically activated carbon filtration, membrane filtration, reverse osmosis, advanced oxidation, chlorination, chloramination). The samples were enriched by solid phase extraction. In most samples the oxidative stress response was far more sensitive than cytotoxicity. The primary and secondary treated effluent exceeded the effect threshold IR 1.5 at a relative enrichment factor (REF) of 1, i.e., the native samples were active. All tertiary treated samples were less potent and their EC(IR1.5) lay between REF 1 and 10. The Nrf2 pathway was induced at a REF of approximately 10 for surface waters and drinking water, and above this enrichment cytotoxicity took over in most samples and quenched the induction. The blank (ultrapure water run through the sample enrichment process) was cytotoxic at an REF of 100, which is the limit of concentrations range that can be evaluated. Treatment typically decreased both the cytotoxicity and oxidative stress response apart from drinking water treatment where chlorination caused an increase in oxidative stress response, presumably due to the formation of disinfection by-products. This study demonstrates the relevance and applicability of the oxidative stress response pathway for water quality monitoring.
    Journal of Environmental Monitoring 10/2012; 14(11):2877-85. DOI:10.1039/c2em30506b · 2.18 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: In 2008, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/National Toxicology Program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Center for Computational Toxicology, and the National Human Genome Research Institute/National Institutes of Health Chemical Genomics Center entered into an agreement on “high throughput screening, toxicity pathway profiling, and biological interpretation of findings.” In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) joined the collaboration, known informally as Tox21. Objectives: The Tox21 partners agreed to develop a vision and devise an implementation strategy to shift the assessment of chemical hazards away from traditional experimental animal toxicology studies to one based on target-specific, mechanism-based, biological observations largely obtained using in vitro assays. Discussion: Here we outline the efforts of the Tox21 partners up to the time the FDA joined the collaboration, describe the approaches taken to develop the science and technologies that are currently being used, assess the current status, and identify problems that could impede further progress as well as suggest approaches to address those problems. Conclusion: Tox21 faces some very difficult issues. However, we are making progress in integrating data from diverse technologies and end points into what is effectively a systems-biology approach to toxicology. This can be accomplished only when comprehensive knowledge is obtained with broad coverage of chemical and biological/toxicological space. The efforts thus far reflect the initial stage of an exceedingly complicated program, one that will likely take decades to fully achieve its goals. However, even at this stage, the information obtained has attracted the attention of the international scientific community, and we believe these efforts foretell the future of toxicology.
    Environmental Health Perspectives 04/2013; 121(7). DOI:10.1289/ehp.1205784 · 7.98 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chronic exposure to drinking water disinfection byproducts has been linked to adverse health risks. The monohaloacetic acids (monoHAAs) are generated as byproducts during the disinfection of drinking water and are cytotoxic, genotoxic, mutagenic, and teratogenic. Iodoacetic acid toxicity was mitigated by antioxidants, suggesting the involvement of oxidative stress. Other monoHAAs may share a similar mode of action. Each monoHAA generated a significant concentration-response increase in the expression of a β-lactamase reporter under the control of the Antioxidant Response Element (ARE). The monoHAAs generated oxidative stress with a rank order of IAA > BAA > CAA; this rank order was observed with other toxicological endpoints. Toxicogenomic analysis was conducted with a non-transformed human intestinal epithelial cell line (FHs 74 Int). Exposure to the monoHAAs altered the transcription levels of multiple oxidative stress responsive genes, indicating that each exposure generated oxidative stress. The transcriptome profiles showed an increase in TXNRD1 and SRXN1, suggesting peroxiredoxin proteins had been oxidized during monoHAA exposures. Three sources of reactive oxygen species were identified, the hypohalous acid generating peroxidase enzymes LPO and MPO, NADPH-dependent oxidase NOX5, and PTGS2 (COX-2) mediated arachidonic acid metabolism. Each monoHAA exposure caused an increase in COX-2 mRNA levels. These data provide a functional association between monoHAA exposure and adverse health outcomes such as oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer.
    Environmental Science & Technology 09/2013; 47(21). DOI:10.1021/es403171b · 5.33 Impact Factor
Show more