Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Activation in Hematopoietic Stem/Progenitor Cells Alters Cell Function and Pathway-Specific Gene Modulation Reflecting Changes in Cellular Trafficking and Migration

Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA.
Molecular pharmacology (Impact Factor: 4.12). 07/2011; 80(4):673-82. DOI: 10.1124/mol.111.071381
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a transcription factor belonging to the Per-ARNT-Sim family of proteins. These proteins sense molecules and stimuli from the cellular/tissue environment and initiate signaling cascades to elicit appropriate cellular responses. Recent literature reports suggest an important function of AhR in hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) biology. However, the molecular mechanisms by which AhR signaling regulates HSC functions are unknown. In previous studies, we and others reported that treatment of mice with the AhR agonist 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) compromises the competitive reconstitution of bone marrow (BM) cells into irradiated host animals. Additional studies indicated a requirement for AhR in hematopoietic cells and not marrow microenvironment cells. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that TCDD-mediated phenotypic and functional changes of HSCs are a result of changes in gene expression that disrupt stem cell numbers and/or their migration. TCDD treatment to mice increased the numbers of phenotypically defined HSCs in BM. These cells showed compromised migration to the BM in vivo and to the chemokine CXCL12 in vitro, as well as increased expression of the leukemia-associated receptors CD184 (CXCR4) and CD44. Gene expression profiles at 6 and 12 h after exposure were consistent with the phenotypic and functional changes observed. The expressions of Scin, Nqo1, Flnb, Mmp8, Ilf9, and Slamf7 were consistently altered. TCDD also disrupted expression of other genes involved in hematological system development and function including Fos, JunB, Egr1, Ptgs2 (Cox2), and Cxcl2. These data support a molecular mechanism for an AhR ligand to disrupt the homeostatic cell signaling of HSCs that may promote altered HSC function.

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