Journal Article

Tungsten Effects on Phosphate-Dependent Biochemical Pathways are Species and Liver Cell Line Dependent

David R. Johnson, ChooYaw Ang, Anthony J. Bednar and Laura S. Inouye

in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 116, issue 2, pages 523-532
Published in print August 2010 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI:
Tungsten Effects on Phosphate-Dependent Biochemical Pathways are Species and Liver Cell Line Dependent

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Tungsten, in the form of tungstate, polymerizes with phosphate, and as extensive polymerization occurs, cellular phosphorylation and dephosphorylation reactions may be disrupted, resulting in negative effects on cellular functions. A series of studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of tungsten on several phosphate-dependent intracellular functions, including energy cycling (ATP), regulation of enzyme activity (cytosolic protein tyrosine kinase [cytPTK] and tyrosine phosphatase), and intracellular secondary messengers (cyclic adenosine monophosphate [cAMP]). Rat noncancerous hepatocyte (Clone-9), rat cancerous hepatocyte (H4IIE), and human cancerous hepatocyte (HepG2) cells were exposed to 1–1000 mg/l tungsten (in the form of sodium tungstate) for 24 h, lysed, and analyzed for the above biochemical parameters. Cellular ATP levels were not significantly affected in any cell line. After 4 h, tungsten significantly decreased cytPTK activity in Clone-9 cells at ≥ 18 mg/l, had no effect in H4IIE cells, and significantly increased cytPTK activity by 70% in HepG2 cells at ≥ 2 mg/l. CytPTK displayed a slight hormetic response to tungsten after 24-h exposure yet returned to normal after 48-h exposure. Tungsten significantly increased cAMP by over 60% in Clone-9 cells at ≥ 100 mg/l, significantly increased cAMP in H4IIE cells at only 100 mg/l, and significantly increased cAMP in HepG2 cells between 1–100 mg/l but at much more modest levels (8–20%). In conclusion, these data indicate that tungsten produces complex results that must be carefully interpreted in the context of their respective animal models, as well as the phenotype of the cell lines (i.e., normal vs. cancerous).

Keywords: tungsten; phosphate; ATP; tyrosine kinase; cAMP; liver cell lines

Journal Article.  5562 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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