Journal Article

Embryoprotective Role of Endogenous Catalase in Acatalasemic and Human Catalase-Expressing Mouse Embryos Exposed in Culture to Developmental and Phenytoin-Enhanced Oxidative Stress

Julia P. Abramov and Peter G. Wells

in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 120, issue 2, pages 428-438
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfr007
Embryoprotective Role of Endogenous Catalase in Acatalasemic and Human Catalase-Expressing Mouse Embryos Exposed in Culture to Developmental and Phenytoin-Enhanced Oxidative Stress

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Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are implicated in spontaneous and xenobiotic-enhanced embryopathies, and protein therapy with exogenous catalase suggests an embryoprotective role, although embryonic catalase activity is only about 5% of adult activity. Using mutant catalase-deficient (acatalasemic, aCat) mice and transgenic mice expressing human catalase (hCat, enhanced catalase activity) compared with a confirmed outbred CD-1 mouse model, we investigated the protective importance of constitutive embryonic catalase against endogenous ROS and the ROS-initiating teratogen phenytoin in embryo culture. Vehicle-exposed aCat and hCat embryos, respectively, exhibited reduced and enhanced catalase activity compared with wild-type (WT) controls, with conversely enhanced and reduced spontaneous embryopathies. Phenytoin was embryopathic in all strains without altering catalase activity but less so in the WT embryos for the aCat and hCat strains, which exhibited about half the catalase activity of CD-1 embryos. Phenytoin, respectively, enhanced and reduced embryopathies in aCat and hCat embryos. Among aCat embryos exposed to phenytoin, embryopathies increased with decreasing catalase activity and were completely blocked by addition of exogenous catalase, which increased embryonic catalase activity to WT levels. These results provide the first direct evidence that (1) the low level of constitutive embryonic catalase protects the conceptus from developmental and xenobiotic-enhanced oxidative stress and (2) embryonic variations in activity of this enzyme affect development.

Keywords: catalase; embryo; embryopathies; oxidative stress; hydrogen peroxide; phenytoin; developmental toxicity

Journal Article.  6251 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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