Zhican Wang

University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Publications (6)24.02 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: 4-Hydroxyequilenin (4-OHEN) is a major phase I metabolite of the equine estrogens present in widely prescribed hormone replacement formulations. 4-OHEN is autoxidized to an electrophilic o-quinone that has been shown to redox cycle, generating ROS, and to covalently modify proteins and DNA and thus potentially to act as a chemical carcinogen. To establish the ability of 4-OHEN to act as a hormonal carcinogen at the estrogen receptor (ER), estrogen responsive gene expression and proliferation were studied in ER(+) breast cancer cells. Recruitment by 4-OHEN of ER to estrogen responsive elements (ERE) of DNA in MCF-7 cells was also studied and observed. 4-OHEN was a potent estrogen, with additional weak activity associated with binding to the arylhydrocarbon receptor (AhR). The potency of 4-OHEN toward classical ERalpha mediated activity was unexpected given the reported rapid autoxidation and trapping of the resultant quinone by GSH. Addition of thiols to cell cultures did not attenuate the estrogenic activity of 4-OHEN, and preformed thiol conjugates added to cell incubations only marginally reduced ERE-luciferase induction. On reaction of the 4OHEN-GSH conjugate with NADPH, 4-OHEN was observed to be regenerated at a rate dependent upon NADPH concentration, indicating that intracellular nonenzymatic and enzymatic regeneration of 4-OHEN accounts for the observed estrogenic activity of 4-OHEN. 4-OHEN is therefore capable of inducing chemical and hormonal pathways that may contribute to estrogen-dependent carcinogenesis, and trapping by cellular thiols does not provide a mechanism of termination of these pathways.
    Chemical Research in Toxicology 08/2010; 23(8):1374-83. DOI:10.1021/tx100129h · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Metabolic activation of estrogens to catechols and further oxidation to highly reactive o-quinones generates DNA damage including apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) sites. 4-Hydroxyequilenin (4-OHEN) is the major catechol metabolite of equine estrogens present in estrogen replacement formulations, known to cause DNA strand breaks, oxidized bases, and stable and depurinating adducts. However, the direct formation of AP sites by 4-OHEN has not been characterized. In the present study, the induction of AP sites in vitro by 4-OHEN and the endogenous catechol estrogen metabolite, 4-hydroxyestrone (4-OHE), was examined by an aldehyde reactive probe assay. Both 4-OHEN and 4-OHE can significantly enhance the levels of AP sites in calf thymus DNA in the presence of the redox cycling agents, copper ion and NADPH. The B-ring unsaturated catechol 4-OHEN induced AP sites without added copper, whereas 4-OHE required copper. AP sites were also generated much more rapidly by 4-OHEN. For both catechol estrogens, the levels of AP sites correlated linearly with 8-oxo-dG levels, implying that depuriniation resulted from reactive oxygen species (ROS) rather than depurination of estrogen-DNA adducts. ROS modulators such as catalase, which scavenges hydrogen peroxide and a Cu(I) chelator, blocked the formation of AP sites. In MCF-7 breast cancer cells, 4-OHEN significantly enhanced the formation of AP sites with added NADH. In contrast, no significant induction of AP sites was detected in 4-OHE-treated cells. The greater redox activity of the equine catechol estrogen produces rapid oxidative DNA damage via ROS, which is enhanced by redox cycling agents and interestingly by NADPH-dependent quinone oxidoreductase.
    Chemical Research in Toxicology 08/2010; 23(8):1365-73. DOI:10.1021/tx1001282 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Estrogen exposure is a risk factor for breast cancer, and estrogen oxidative metabolites have been implicated in chemical carcinogenesis. Oxidation of the catechol metabolite of estrone (4-OHE) and the beta-naphthohydroquinone metabolite of equilenin (4-OHEN) gives o-quinones that produce ROS and damage DNA by adduction and oxidation. To differentiate hormonal and chemical carcinogensis pathways in estrogen receptor positive ER(+) cells, catechol or beta-naphthohydroquinone warheads were conjugated to the selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) desmethylarzoxifene (DMA). ER binding was retained in the DMA conjugates; both were antiestrogens with submicromolar potency in mammary and endometrial cells. Cytotoxicity, apoptosis, and caspase-3/7 activation were compared in ER(+) and ER(-)MDA-MB-231 cells, and production of ROS was detected using a fluorescent reporter. Comparison was made to DMA, isolated warheads, and a DMA-mustard. Conjugation of warheads to DMA increased cytotoxicity accompanied by induction of apoptosis and activation of caspase-3/7. Activation of caspase-3/7, induction of apoptosis, and cytotoxicity were all increased significantly in ER(+) cells for the DMA conjugates. ROS production was localized in the nucleus for conjugates in ER(+) cells. Observations are compatible with beta-naphthohydroquinone and catechol groups being concentrated in the nucleus by ER binding, where oxidation and ROS production result, concomitant with caspase-dependent apoptosis. The results suggest that DNA damage induced by catechol estrogen metabolites can be amplified in ER(+) cells independent of hormonal activity. The novel conjugation of quinone warheads to an ER-targeting SERM gives ER-dependent, enhanced apoptosis in mammary cancer cells of potential application in cancer therapy.
    ACS Chemical Biology 10/2009; 4(12):1039-49. DOI:10.1021/cb9001848 · 5.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Estrogen-DNA adducts are potential biomarkers for assessing cancer risk and progression in estrogen-dependent cancer. 4-Hydroxyequilenin (4-OHEN), the major catechol metabolite of equine estrogens present in hormone replacement therapy formulations, autoxidizes to a reactive o-quinone that subsequently causes DNA damage. The formation of stable stereoisomeric cyclic 4-OHEN-DNA adducts has been reported in vitro and in vivo, but their removal by DNA repair processes in cells has not been determined. Such studies have been hampered by low yields of cyclic adducts and poor reproducibility when treating cells in culture with 4-OHEN. These problems are attributed in part to the instability of 4-OHEN in aerobic, aqueous media. We show herein that low yields and reproducibility can be overcome by 4-OHEN diacetate as a novel, cell-permeable 4-OHEN precursor, in combination with a sensitive LC-MS/MS method developed for detecting adducts in human breast cancer cells. This method involves isolation of cellular DNA, DNA digestion to deoxynucleosides, followed by the addition of an isotope-labeled internal standard (4-OHEN-(15)N(5)-dG adduct) prior to analysis by LC-MS/MS. A concentration-dependent increase in adduct levels was observed in MCF-7 cells after exposure to 4-OHEN diacetate. The chemical stabilities of the adducts were also investigated to confirm that adducts were stable under assay conditions. In conclusion, this newly developed LC-MS/MS method allows detection and relative quantification of 4-OHEN-DNA adducts in human breast cancer cells, which could be adapted for adduct detection in human samples.
    Chemical Research in Toxicology 05/2009; 22(6):1129-36. DOI:10.1021/tx900063g · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Exposure to estrogens increases the risk of breast and endometrial cancer. It is proposed that the estrogen receptor (ER) may contribute to estrogen carcinogenesis by transduction of the hormonal signal and as a "Trojan horse" concentrating genotoxic estrogen metabolites in the nucleus to complex with DNA, enhancing DNA damage. 4-Hydroxyequilenin (4-OHEN), the major catechol metabolite of equine estrogens present in estrogen replacement formulations, autoxidizes to a redox-cycling quinone that has been shown to cause DNA damage. 4-OHEN was found to be an estrogen of nanomolar potency in cell culture using a luciferase reporter assay and, using a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, was found to activate ERalpha binding to estrogen-responsive genes in MCF-7 cells. DNA damage was measured in cells by comparing ERalpha(+) versus ERalpha(-) cells and 4-OHEN versus menadione, a reactive oxygen species (ROS)-generating, but non-estrogenic, quinone. 4-OHEN selectively induced DNA damage in ERalpha(+) cells, whereas menadione-induced damage was not dependent on cellular ER status. The rate of 4-OHEN-induced DNA damage was significantly enhanced in ERalpha(+) cells, whereas ER status had no effect on the rate of menadione-induced damage. Imaging of ROS induced by 4-OHEN showed accumulation selective for the nucleus of ERalpha(+) cells within 5 min, whereas in ERalpha(-) or menadione-treated cells, no selectivity was observed. These data support ERalpha acting as a Trojan horse concentrating 4-OHEN in the nucleus to accelerate the rate of ROS generation and thereby amplify DNA damage. The Trojan horse mechanism may be of general importance beyond estrogen genotoxins.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2009; 284(13):8633-42. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M807860200 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cellular defense mechanisms that respond to damage from oxidative and electrophilic stress, such as from quinones, represent a target for chemopreventive agents. Drugs bioactivated to quinones have the potential to activate antioxidant/electrophile responsive element (ARE) transcription of genes for cytoprotective phase 2 enzymes such as NAD(P)H-dependent quinone oxidoreductase (NQO1) but can also cause cellular damage. Two isomeric families of compounds were prepared, including the NO-NSAIDs (NO-donating nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) NCX 4040 and NCX 4016; one family was postulated to release a quinone methide on esterase bioactivation. The study of reactivity and GSH conjugation in model and cell systems confirmed the postulate. The quinone-forming family, including NCX 4040 and conisogenic bromides and mesylate, was rapidly bioactivated to a quinone, which gave activation of ARE and consequent induction of NQO1 in liver cells. Although the control family, including NCX 4016 and conisogenic bromides and mesylates, cannot form a quinone, ARE activation and NQO1 induction were observed, compatible with slower SN2 reactions with thiol sensor proteins, and consequent ARE-luciferase and NQO1 induction. Using a Chemoprevention Index estimate, the quinone-forming compounds suffered because of high cytoxicity and were more compatible with cancer therapy than chemoprevention. In the Comet assay, NCX 4040 was highly genotoxic relative to NCX 4016. There was no evidence that NO contributes to the observed biological activity and no evidence that NCX 4040 is an NO donor, instead, rapidly releasing NO3- and quinone. These results indicate a strategy for studying the quinone biological activity and reinforce the therapeutic attributes of NO-ASA through structural elements other than NO and ASA.
    Chemical Research in Toxicology 01/2008; 20(12):1903-12. DOI:10.1021/tx7002257 · 3.53 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

87 Citations
24.02 Total Impact Points


  • 2008-2010
    • University of Illinois at Chicago
      • • Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy
      • • College of Pharmacy
      Chicago, Illinois, United States

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