Toxicology and applied pharmacology

Comparison of the effects of various peroxisome proliferators on peroxisomal enzyme activities, DNA synthesis, and apoptosis in rat and human hepatocyte cultures.

PMID 10502499


Peroxisome proliferators (PPs) are a class of rodent nongenotoxic hepatocarcinogens that cause hepatocyte peroxisome proliferation, increased DNA synthesis, and decreased spontaneous apoptosis. We examined the effects of various PPs such as the hypolipidemic agents clofibric acid (CLO), bezafibrate (BEZA), ciprofibrate (CIPRO), and nafenopin (NAFE) and the plasticizer di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) on the various parameters in vitro in rat and human hepatocyte cultures. In rat hepatocyte cultures, after 72 h of treatment with the various PPs at 100-500 microM, a compound-dependent increase in acyl CoA oxidase (ACO) and carnitine acetyl transferase (CAT) activities, markers of peroxisome proliferation, was observed with the following potencies: CIPRO = NAFE > BEZA > CLO > DEHP. A minor (120-150%), but significant, no concentration-dependent increase in DNA synthesis and a marked, no compound-dependent and, with the exception of NAFE, no concentration-dependent 60-80% decrease in spontaneous apoptosis was observed with all tested compounds (50-250 microM) after 48 h of treatment. Inhibition of spontaneous apoptosis in PP-treated versus control rat hepatocyte cultures was also observed morphologically. Furthermore, PPs inhibited transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta)-induced apoptosis but not tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha)/alpha Amanitine (alphaAma)-induced apoptosis in rat hepatocyte cultures. In human hepatocyte cultures, the various PPs at 50-500 microM did not affect peroxisomal enzyme activities, DNA synthesis, or spontaneous and induced (TGFbeta or TNFalpha/alphaAma) apoptosis. The compound-dependent peroxisome proliferation but no compound-dependent disruption of the mitogenic/apoptotic balance elicited by PPs in primary rat hepatocyte cultures supports the hypothesis that oxidative stress is directly linked to the hepatocarcinogenic potential of a given PP in rodents and that disruption of the mitogenic/apoptotic balance contributes to the development of PP-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. In addition, the absence of effects of all PPs on both peroxisome proliferation-associated parameters and mitogenic/apoptotic balance supports the hypothesis that human liver cells are refractory to PP-induced hepatocarcinogenesis.

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