A comparative study on the effects of 2,3,7,8,-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin polychlorinated biphenyl126 and estrogen in human bronchial epithelial cells

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Epidemiological studies on 2,3,7,8,-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) exposure indicated high incidences of pulmonary dysfunctions and lung cancer. Animal studies also demonstrated lung cancer development in female, but not in male, rats exposed to TCDD. Such effects, however, have not been reported in polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) exposure. In our present study, we have investigated the effects of TCDD and PCB126, with or without cotreatment with 17 beta-estradiol (E2), on a human bronchial epithelial cell line BEAS-2B. We found that treatment with either TCDD or PCB126 alone reduced cell numbers as well as thymidine incorporation. Cell death, however, was only detected in PCB126-, but not TCDD-, treated cultures. The TCDD-induced cell reduction, therefore, could not be contributed to cell death. Meanwhile, because TCDD- and PCB126-enhanced CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 expressions were significantly reduced by the AhR antagonist and CYP1 inhibitor alpha-naphthoflavone (ANF), this indicated that the effects of TCDD and PCB126 were AhR and cytochrome P450 1 dependent. We also found that while E2 itself did not alter CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 expressions, cotreatment of E2 with TCDD or PCB126 would significantly enhance TCDD-, but not PCB126-, induced toxicity. We further demonstrated that in the presence of E2, 1 nM TCDD increased the production of E2 metabolites, 2-methoxyestradiol (2-MeOE2) and 4-methoxyestradiol (4-MeOE2). PCB126, however, only increased 2-MeOE2 formation without significant induction of 4-MeOE2. We believe that these metabolites, especially 4-MeOE2, interacted with TCDD to further suppress cell growth. Our data provided the first demonstration on the enhancement of TCDD-induced toxicity in human lung cells via interaction with estrogen.

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