Toxicology letters

Effects of methylenedianiline on tight junction permeability of biliary epithelial cells in vivo and in vitro.

PMID 17178199


Methylenedianiline (DAPM) is considered a cholangiodestructive toxicant in vivo. Increases in biliary inorganic phosphate (P(i)) and glucose occur prior to biliary epithelial cell (BEC) injury, which could be due to increased paracellular permeability and/or impairment of P(i) and glucose uptake by BEC. To evaluate these possibilities, we induced mild injury [loss of BEC from major bile ducts (6 h), ultrastructural alterations in BEC mitochondria and Golgi cisternae (3 h), and striking increases in biliary P(i) and glucose (3-6 h)] with 25 mg DAPM/kg and then assessed temporal alterations in tight junction (TJ) permeability by measuring bile to plasma (B:P) ratios of [(3)H]-inulin. Parameters maintained by hepatocytes in bile were unchanged (bile flow, bile salts, bilirubin) or only transiently perturbed (protein, glutathione). Minimal elevations in B:P ratios of inulin occurred temporally later (4 h) in DAPM-treated rats than increases in biliary P(i) and glucose. To confirm a direct effect of DAPM on BEC TJs, we measured transepithelial resistance (TER) and bi-ionic potentials of BEC monolayers prior to and after exposure to pooled (4-6) bile samples collected from untreated rats (Basal Bile) or rats treated with 50 mg DAPM/kg (DAPM-Bile). BEC TJs were found to be cation selective. Exposure to DAPM-Bile for 1 h decreased TERs by approximately 35% and decreased charge selectivity of BEC TJs while exposure to Basal Bile had no effects. These observations indicate that DAPM-Bile impairs paracellular permeability of BEC in vitro. Further, our in vivo model suggests that increases in paracellular permeability induced by DAPM are localized to BEC because bile flow and constituents excreted by hepatocytes were unchanged, BEC damage was temporally correlated with increases in biliary P(i) and glucose, and elevations in B:P ratios of inulin were delayed and minimal.