Journal Article

The effect of non-genotoxic carcinogens, phenobarbital and clofibrate, on the relationship between reactive oxygen species, antioxidant enzyme expression and apoptosis.

C Díez-Fernández, N Sanz, A M Alvarez, A Wolf and M Cascales

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 19, issue 10, pages 1715-1722
Published in print October 1998 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online October 1998 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/19.10.1715
The effect of non-genotoxic carcinogens, phenobarbital and clofibrate, on the relationship between reactive oxygen species, antioxidant enzyme expression and apoptosis.

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Phenobarbital and clofibrate, two non-genotoxic carcinogens, have been investigated regarding the relationship between reactive oxygen species, antioxidant enzyme expression and apoptosis in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes. Low toxicity concentrations, 200 and 100 microg/ml for phenobarbital and clofibrate respectively, were used to examine their effect on spontaneous or transforming growth factor beta1 (TGFbeta1)-induced apoptosis and on the expression of antioxidant defence enzymes (superoxide dismutases and catalase). The increased incidence of apoptotic nuclei was visualized in TGFbeta1-treated cultures with the fluorescent dye Hoechst 33258 and was quantified under all experimental conditions by measurement of the hypodiploid peak in DNA histograms obtained by flow cytometry. Both substances, when added separately to hepatocyte cultures and incubated for 24 and 48 h, significantly diminished spontaneous apoptosis and exhibited a slight suppression of TGFbeta1-induced apoptosis. Endogenous peroxide production by hepatocytes increased with TGFbeta1, phenobarbital or clofibrate and the increase was greater with phenobarbital and in the presence of TGFbeta1 with both drugs. Gene expression of catalase and Mn- and Cu,Zn superoxide dismutases (SOD) was evaluated by northern blot analysis of hepatocytes incubated in the presence of phenobarbital or clofibrate with or without TGFbeta1 and the following differences were detected: phenobarbital induced a significant decrease in both dismutases (to 56%, P < 0.05, and 55%, P < 0.05, for Mn- and Cu,Zn-SOD respectively) and a 2-fold increase (P < 0.01) in catalase; clofibrate induced a slight decrease in both SODs and a 4-fold increase (P < 0.05) in catalase; TGFbeta1 significantly decreased to 37% (P < 0.05) expression of catalase while not significantly affecting expression of both SODs. We conclude that inhibition of spontaneous apoptosis induced by either phenobarbital or clofibrate is accompanied by increases in the endogenous levels of peroxides and by significant induction of catalase gene expression. Furthermore, the lack of effect of both compounds on TGFbeta1-induced apoptosis could be a consequence of the inability of these two compounds to counteract the depressing effect of TGFbeta1 on expression of catalase.

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Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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