Tiered High-Throughput Screening Approach to Identify Thyroperoxidase Inhibitors Within the ToxCast Phase I and II Chemical Libraries

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High-throughput screening for potential thyroid-disrupting chemicals requires a system of assays to capture multiple molecular-initiating events (MIEs) that converge on perturbed thyroid hormone (TH) homeostasis. Screening for MIEs specific to TH-disrupting pathways is limited in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ToxCast screening assay portfolio. To fill 1 critical screening gap, the Amplex UltraRed-thyroperoxidase (AUR-TPO) assay was developed to identify chemicals that inhibit TPO, as decreased TPO activity reduces TH synthesis. The ToxCast phase I and II chemical libraries, comprised of 1074 unique chemicals, were initially screened using a single, high concentration to identify potential TPO inhibitors. Chemicals positive in the single-concentration screen were retested in concentration-response. Due to high false-positive rates typically observed with loss-of-signal assays such as AUR-TPO, we also employed 2 additional assays in parallel to identify possible sources of nonspecific assay signal loss, enabling stratification of roughly 300 putative TPO inhibitors based upon selective AUR-TPO activity. A cell-free luciferase inhibition assay was used to identify nonspecific enzyme inhibition among the putative TPO inhibitors, and a cytotoxicity assay using a human cell line was used to estimate the cellular tolerance limit. Additionally, the TPO inhibition activities of 150 chemicals were compared between the AUR-TPO and an orthogonal peroxidase oxidation assay using guaiacol as a substrate to confirm the activity profiles of putative TPO inhibitors. This effort represents the most extensive TPO inhibition screening campaign to date and illustrates a tiered screening approach that focuses resources, maximizes assay throughput, and reduces animal use.

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