Comparison of TCDD-elicited genome-wide hepatic gene expression in Sprague–Dawley rats and C57BL/6 mice

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Although the structure and function of the AhR are conserved, emerging evidence suggests that downstream effects are species-specific. In this study, rat hepatic gene expression data from the DrugMatrix database (National Toxicology Program) were compared to mouse hepatic whole-genome gene expression data following treatment with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). For the DrugMatrix study, male Sprague–Dawley rats were gavaged daily with 20 μg/kg TCDD for 1, 3 and 5 days, while female C57BL/6 ovariectomized mice were examined 1, 3 and 7 days after a single oral gavage of 30 μg/kg TCDD. A total of 649 rat and 1386 mouse genes (|fold change|≥1.5, P1(t)≥0.99) were differentially expressed following treatment. HomoloGene identified 11,708 orthologs represented across the rat Affymetrix 230 2.0 GeneChip (12,310 total orthologs), and the mouse 4×44K v.1 Agilent oligonucleotide array (17,578 total orthologs). Comparative analysis found 563 and 922 orthologs differentially expressed in response to TCDD in the rat and mouse, respectively, with 70 responses associated with immune function and lipid metabolism in common to both. Moreover, QRTPCR analysis of Ceacam1, showed divergent expression (induced in rat; repressed in mouse) functionally consistent with TCDD-elicited hepatic steatosis in the mouse but not the rat. Functional analysis identified orthologs involved in nucleotide binding and acetyltransferase activity in rat, while mouse-specific responses were associated with steroid, phospholipid, fatty acid, and carbohydrate metabolism. These results provide further evidence that TCDD elicits species-specific regulation of distinct gene networks, and outlines considerations for future comparisons of publicly available microarray datasets.

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