Hepatic genotoxicity and toxicogenomic responses in Muta™Mouse males treated with dibenz[a,h]anthracene

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Abstract

Dibenz[a,h]anthracene (DB[a,h]A) is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon that is a by-product of combustion and a potent carcinogen. Few studies have investigated the effects of DB[a,h]A on mRNA and microRNA expression to dissect the mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis. In this study, mature male mice (Muta™Mouse) were exposed to 6.25, 12.5 and 25mg/kg/day DB[a,h]A by oral gavage for 28 consecutive days. Results were compared with mice similarly exposed to benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) in our previous work. Liver DNA adduct levels and lacZ mutant frequency increased dose dependently for both chemicals. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) potency was greater for DB[a,h]A than B[a]P using the chemical-activated luciferase expression assay. Microarray analysis revealed 19 up-regulated and 22 down-regulated genes (false discovery rate-adjusted P ≤ 0.05; fold change ≥ 1.5) following treatment with 6.25 mg/kg/day DB[a,h]A. Thirteen transcripts were up-regulated and 32 down-regulated in the 12.5mg/kg/day group. The 25mg/kg/day dose had major effects on mRNA expression with 135 up-regulated and 104 down-regulated genes. Overall, perturbations were greater for DB[a,h]A than for B[a]P; in vitro chemical-activated luciferase expression supports that this may be driven by the AhR. Many of the DB[a,h]A-affected genes are implicated in cancer and are essential in vital biological functions including circadian rhythm, glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, immune response, cell cycle and apoptosis. Although a number of functional groups were similarly affected by B[a]P and DB[a,h]A, in general the responses generated by each chemical were quite distinct. Commonalities included a DNA damage response leading to induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in both Tp53-dependent and Tp53-independent manners. MicroRNA expression was identical for both chemicals, with only miR-34a showing a dose-dependent increase in treated mice.

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