Journal Article

Effects of the carcinogen, acrylonitrile, on forestomach cell proliferation and apoptosis in the rat: comparison with methacrylonitrile.

B I Ghanayem, M R Elwell and S R Eldridge

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 18, issue 4, pages 675-680
Published in print April 1997 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online April 1997 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/18.4.675
Effects of the carcinogen, acrylonitrile, on forestomach cell proliferation and apoptosis in the rat: comparison with methacrylonitrile.

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Acrylonitrile (AN) and methacrylonitrile (MAN) are two major industrial nitriles used in the production of plastics and acrylic fibers. Whereas AN is a potent acute toxin and carcinogenic in rats, little is known regarding MAN. Current work is part of an overall effort designed to assess the potential toxicity/carcinogenicity of MAN. The present study compares the ability of the two chemicals to induce epithelial proliferation and apoptosis in the forestomach (FS; a target of AN carcinogenicity), liver and glandular stomach (non-targets of AN carcinogenicity) of male F344 rats. AN was administered to rats daily, by gavage, for 6 weeks, at 0.43 and 0.22 mmol/kg. MAN was administered at 0.87 and 0.43 mmol/kg. Both AN and MAN induced a dose-dependent increase in epithelial cell proliferation in the FS of male F344 rats as determined by bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation into DNA. In contrast, AN, but not MAN caused a dose-dependent increase in the thickness of the forestomach squamous mucosa. This increased thickness (hyperplasia) was reflected by an increase in the number of total epithelial cells per unit length of mucosa. At doses of AN and MAN which induced a 2.3-fold increase in BrdU incorporation, apoptosis was 5- and 18-fold greater than controls, respectively. Although both MAN and AN caused a similar increase in cell proliferation, the relatively more prominent increase in the apoptotic index of the squamous epithelium of rats exposed to MAN may explain the lack of a detectable increase in the thickness of the mucosa compared to that seen with AN. The disruption of the balance between FS mucosal cell proliferation and apoptosis in favor of a net increase in the number of FS epithelial cells per unit length may contribute to the carcinogenicity of AN. In conclusion, present work demonstrated that AN selectively induced a net enhancement in FS cell proliferation, a site of its carcinogenicity. On the other hand, MAN-induced FS cell proliferation was associated with a parallel increase in apoptosis. The relatively greater increase in apoptosis by MAN may have compensated for the increase in FS mucosal cell proliferation and the lack of observable change in the FS thickness.

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Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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