Journal Article

Effects of the rodent peroxisome proliferator and hepatocarcinogen, perfluorooctanoic acid, on apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells

Irina G. Shabalina, Theoharis Panaretakis, Anders Bergstrand and Joseph W. Depierre

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 20, issue 12, pages 2237-2246
Published in print December 1999 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online December 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/20.12.2237
Effects of the rodent peroxisome proliferator and hepatocarcinogen, perfluorooctanoic acid, on apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells

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The effects of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a potent hepatocarcinogen and peroxisome proliferator in rodents, on human cells have not yet been examined. In the present study we demonstrate that treatment of human hepatoblastoma HepG2 cells with PFOA induces apoptosis, as well as perturbs the cell cycle. This apoptosis was characterized by electron microscopy, which revealed typical nucleosomal fragmentation (also observed as a `DNA ladder' upon electrophoresis on agarose) and was quantitated using propidium iodide staining of cellular DNA and the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay. This process was dose- and time-dependent: apoptosis became manifest with 200 μM and maximal (45% of the cells) upon exposure to 450 μM PFOA for 24 h. Electrophoresis of the DNA from HepG2 cells exposed to 500 μM PFOA for 24 h or to 400 μM PFOA for 48 h revealed a smear typical of non-specific degradation. These findings indicate that in the presence of high concentrations of PFOA for long times, HepG2 cells undergo primary and secondary necrosis. Quantitation of trypan blue exclusion supported this conclusion. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that the cell cycle of HepG2 cells was perturbed by exposure to 50–150 μM PFOA. A 50 μM concentration resulted in a significant increase in the proportion of G2/M cells and, simultaneously, a decrease in the number of cells in the S phase, whereas treatment with 100 or 150 μM PFOA increased the proportion of cells in the G0/G1 phase and decreased the number of cells in the G2/M and S phases. Simultaneous flow cytometric analysis of apoptosis-associated DNA strand breaks using the TUNEL procedure and of propidium iodide staining of cellular DNA revealed DNA breaks in HepG2 cells exposed to 150 μM PFOA, prior to nuclear fragmentation.

Keywords: DMSO, dimethyl sulfoxide; EDTA, ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline; PFOA, perfluorooctanoic acid.

Journal Article.  6940 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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