Journal Article

Hepatic zonation of the induction of cytochrome P450 IVA, peroxisomal lipid beta-oxidation enzymes and peroxisome proliferation in rats treated with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Evidence of distinct zonal and sex-specific differences.

K Beier, A Völkl, C Metzger, D Mayer, P Bannasch and H D Fahimi

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 18, issue 8, pages 1491-1498
Published in print August 1997 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online August 1997 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/18.8.1491
Hepatic zonation of the induction of cytochrome P450 IVA, peroxisomal lipid beta-oxidation enzymes and peroxisome proliferation in rats treated with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Evidence of distinct zonal and sex-specific differences.

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Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is an intermediate product in the synthesis of male and female sex hormones in the adrenal cortex of man. In livers of rats and mice DHEA increases the levels of cytochrome P450 IVA and peroxisomal beta-oxidation enzymes associated with peroxisome proliferation. Prolonged treatment of rats with DHEA induces liver tumors that are more frequent in females arising mainly in the periportal regions of the liver lobule (Metzger et al., Toxicol. Pathol. 23, 591-605, 1995). Because of paucity of information on hepatic zonation of peroxisomal response to DHEA and controversial reports on gender-specific differences of its effects the present study was undertaken using qualitative immunohistochemical and quantitative immunoelectron microscopical techniques in addition to Western blotting. Rats were treated for 24 weeks with 0.6% DHEA supplied with diet. Immunoblot analysis revealed marked induction of peroxisomal beta-oxidation enzymes, which by quantitative analysis was equally strong in male and female animals, whilst catalase and urate-oxidase were not increased. Cytochrome P450 IVA, in contrast, was induced significantly stronger in male than in female rats. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the induction of cytochrome P450 IVA showing a marked lobular gradient in female animals with strong induction in pericentral and almost no induction in periportal regions of the liver lobule. In male animals cytochrome P450 IVA was expressed more uniformly across the liver lobule. A similar sex specific zone-dependent response was observed for peroxisomes. DHEA induced in females a significant zonal gradient with marked peroxisome proliferation and a strong induction of peroxisomal hydratase/dehydrogenase in pericentral hepatocytes and a much smaller response in periportal regions. Livers of male animals, in contrast, showed a uniform peroxisomal proliferation to DHEA with only slight zonal differences. The striking homologies of the induction patterns of cytochrome P450 IVA and the peroxisome proliferation in both sexes support the notion of a functional relationship. In view of the almost exclusive periportal localization of DHEA-induced tumors in female rats in contrast to the pericentral localization of the peroxisomal proliferation shown by this study, it seems likely that other factors in addition to peroxisome proliferation may contribute to the hepatocarcinogenic effect of DHEA.

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Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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