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Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology

Pyrene is a Novel Constitutive Androstane Receptor (CAR) Activator and Causes Hepatotoxicity by CAR.


PMID 26160115

Abstract

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of ubiquitous persistent environmental pollutants which are primarily formed from the incomplete combustion of organic materials. Many potential sources of human exposure to PAHs exist, including daily exposures from the ambient environment or occupational settings. PAHs have been found to cause harmful effects on human health. Here, we evaluated the adverse effects of pyrene, a common PAH, on the liver. The present study demonstrates that pyrene is able to activate mouse constitutive androstane receptor (CAR). CAR protein, as measured by Western blot analysis, was observed to translocate into the nucleus from the cytoplasm in mouse liver after exposure to pyrene. Utilizing CAR null mice, we identified that CAR mediates pyrene-induced hepatotoxicity. Increased relative liver weight, hepatocellular hypertrophy, and elevated serum alanine aminotransferase levels were found in wild-type but not CAR null mice after orally administered pyrene. We further show that pyrene induced the expression of mouse liver metabolism enzymes including CYP2B10, CYP3A11, GSTm1, GSTm3, and SULT1A1, and caused hepatic glutathione depletion in wild-type but not CAR null mice. Moreover, by luciferase reporter assay and quantitative real-time PCR analysis, pyrene was found to be a potential inducer of CYP2B6 expression via activation of human CAR in HepG2 cells and human primary hepatocytes. Our observations suggest that pyrene is a novel CAR activator and that CAR is essential for mediating pyrene-induced liver injury.

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