Insights into the differential toxicological and antioxidant effects of 4-phenylchalcogenil-7-chloroquinolines inCaenorhabditis elegans

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Organic selenium and tellurium compounds are known for their broad-spectrum effects in a variety of experimental disease models. However, these compounds commonly display high toxicity and the molecular mechanisms underlying these deleterious effects have yet to be elucidated. Thus, the need for an animal model that is inexpensive, amenable to high-throughput analyses, and feasible for molecular studies is highly desirable to improve organochalcogen pharmacological and toxicological characterization. Herein, we use Caenorhabdtis elegans (C. elegans) as a model for the assessment of pharmacological and toxicological parameters following exposure to two 4-phenylchalcogenil-7-chloroquinolines derivatives (PSQ for selenium and PTQ for tellurium-containing compounds). While non-lethal concentrations (NLC) of PTQ and PSQ attenuated paraquat-induced effects on survival, lifespan and oxidative stress parameters, lethal concentrations (LC) of PTQ and PSQ alone are able to impair these parameters in C. elegans. We also demonstrate that DAF-16/FOXO and SKN-1/Nrf2 transcription factors underlie the mechanism of action of these compounds, as their targets sod-3, gst-4 and gcs-1 were modulated following exposures in a daf-16- and skn-1-dependent manner. Finally, in accordance with a disturbed thiol metabolism in both LC and NLC, we found higher sensitivity of trxr-1 worm mutants (lacking the selenoprotein thioredoxin reductase 1) when exposed to PSQ. Finally, our study suggests new targets for the investigation of organochalcogen pharmacological effects, reinforcing the use of C. elegans as a powerful platform for preclinical approaches.Graphical abstractHighlightsPSQ and PTQ at LC induce oxidative damage and impair C. elegans physiology.PSQ and PTQ at NLC protect C. elegans from oxidative stress induced by PQ.daf-16/FOXO and skn-1/NRF2 modulations are involved in PSQ and PTQ effects.sod-3, gcs-1, gst-4, and trxr-1 expression are altered after PSQ and PTQ exposure.

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