Postnatal development of resistance to short-term high-dose toxic effects of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin in TCDD-resistant and -semiresistant rats

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Despite great interspecies differences in adult 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) sensitivity, the toxic potency of TCDD is similar across species in fetal mortality. Han/Wistar (Kuopio; H/W) rats are exceptionally resistant to acute toxicity of TCDD, but show sensitivity to embryotoxicity and teratogenicity. The resistance of adult H/W rats to acute TCDD toxicity is based on a point mutation in the transactivation domain of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and to an unknown gene “B”. This study investigated the time course of postnatal development of resistance to TCDD and the significance of genotypic variation in resistance development. H/W, line A (a new line with the H/W-type mutated AHR), and line B rats (a line with normal AHR but moderately resistant because of gene “B”) were exposed to a single dose of TCDD 2–56 days after birth. H/W and line A rats received 1000 μg/kg; male and female B rats received 200 and 100 μg/kg, respectively. Survival was monitored for 42 days. Interestingly, although TCDD ceased growth and weight gain in all TCDD groups, the younger dosed animals did not seem to reach the body weight of the older dosed animals even in 100 days. The survival results after 42 days showed that line A rats are fairly resistant to TCDD immediately after birth, and their full TCDD resistance develops during the first week of life. The moderate resistance of line B rats develops approximately at the time of weaning. This difference in the time course of resistance development suggests that there are basic differences in pathways mediating resistance in lines A and B rats.

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