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The effect of aflatoxin B1 on the expression of early response genes and transforming growth factor-α in CCl4 induced rat liver injury

 Soon Won Hong  ;  Chanil Park 
 YONSEI MEDICAL JOURNAL, Vol.38(3) : 167-177, 1997 
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Aflatoxin B1/pharmacology* ; Animals ; Carbon Tetrachloride ; Carcinogens/pharmacology* ; Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury ; Gene Expression/drug effects* ; Genes, Immediate-Early/drug effects* ; Liver Diseases/genetics* ; Liver Diseases/metabolism* ; Male ; Rats ; Rats, Sprague-Dawley ; Transforming Growth Factor alpha/metabolism*
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), a fungal toxin produced by Aspergillus flavus, is known to be a possible hepatocarcinogen. But the molecular biologic changes which may occur following exposure to AFB1 are not known and thus the carcinogenesis is not yet understood. This study was performed to examine the expressions of c-myc, c-fos and TGF-alpha genes and to investigate the possible role of those molecular biologic changes in hepatic regeneration and in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 3 groups: Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) only was administered to group I, AFB1 only was administered to group II and a combination of AFB1 and CCl4 was administered to group III. The animals were sacrificed at 0.5, 1, 2, 6, 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours after treatment. In addition to the examination of the hematoxylin-eosin stained sections, hepatic regeneration and apoptosis were analyzed quantitatively by bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-anti-BrdU immunohistochemistry and TUNEL assay utilizing apoptosis kit, respectively. The hepatic expressions of c-myc, c-fos and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) were examined by immunohistochemistry and studied by Western blot. The number of BrdU labelled cells and the degree of necrosis/apoptosis were comparable among the different groups. Livers of the group II rats showed nearly normal histology without regeneration and necrosis/apoptosis. In groups I and III, the number of BrdU- labelled cells showed an increase at 48 hours after treatment, and the increment was significantly higher in group I than in group III. Most BrdU-labelled cells were mature hepatocytes in group I, whereas in group III they appeared to be less mature. In group I, apoptosis showed an increase at around 24 hours, but appeared in group III as early as 12 hours after treatment and persisted through 48 hours. The expression of c-myc and c-fos were also different between the experimental groups. The expression intensity of c-myc in group I was highest at 1 hour and decreased thereafter. In groups II and III, the expressions were much more intense than in group I, except at 1 hour, and the increased intensity persisted throughout the experiment. Group II in particular showed a peak intensity at 30 minutes and at 6 hours after treatment. In group I, c-fos was strongly expressed only at 24 hours, but in group III, there was progressively increased expression with peak intensity at 24 hours. TGF-alpha was expressed in similar intensities in all groups throughout the experiment. These results suggest that AFB1 may evoke an intense and protracted expression of c-myc, provocating the CCl4-induced necrosis of hepatocytes, and a prolonged expression of c-fos, including persistent signals for regeneration which in turn may activate the replication of immature cells. These findings will aid further investigation of molecular biologic and histologic characteristics of the hepatotoxic and hepatocarcinogenic mechanism of AFB1 in rats. And these results in rats, together with clinico-epidemiologic and molecular biologic investigations in humans and other animals, suggest that AFB1 may supply hepatocarcinogenic background in early exposure time in AFB1-contaminated areas of China and Korea.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Pathology (병리학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Park, Chan Il(박찬일)
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