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Toxicology

Steroid profiling in H295R cells to identify chemicals potentially disrupting the production of adrenal steroids.


PMID 28235592

Abstract

The validated OECD test guideline 456 based on human adrenal H295R cells promotes measurement of testosterone and estradiol production as read-out to identify potential endocrine disrupting chemicals. This study aimed to establish optimal conditions for using H295R cells to detect chemicals interfering with the production of key adrenal steroids. H295R cells' supernatants were characterized by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS)-based steroid profiling, and the influence of experimental conditions including time and serum content was assessed. Steroid profiles were determined before and after incubation with reference compounds and chemicals to be tested for potential disruption of adrenal steroidogenesis. The H295R cells cultivated according to the OECD test guideline produced progestins, glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids and adrenal androgens but only very low amounts of testosterone. However, testosterone contained in Nu-serum was metabolized during the 48h incubation. Thus, inclusion of positive and negative controls and a steroid profile of the complete medium prior to the experiment (t=0h) was necessary to characterize H295R cells' steroid production and indicate alterations caused by exposure to chemicals. Among the tested chemicals, octyl methoxycinnamate and acetyl tributylcitrate resembled the corticosteroid induction pattern of the positive control torcetrapib. Gene expression analysis revealed that octyl methoxycinnamate and acetyl tributylcitrate enhanced CYP11B2 expression, although less pronounced than torcetrapib. Further experiments need to assess the toxicological relevance of octyl methoxycinnamate- and acetyl tributylcitrate-induced corticosteroid production. In conclusion, the extended profiling and appropriate controls allow detecting chemicals that act on steroidogenesis and provide initial mechanistic evidence for prioritizing chemicals for further investigations.

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