ResearchPad - predictive-toxicology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Cuminaldehyde potentiates the antimicrobial actions of ciprofloxacin against <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> and <i>Escherichia coli</i>]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14566 Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus are important agents of urinary tract infections that can often evolve to severe infections. The rise of antibiotic-resistant strains has driven the search for novel therapies to replace the use or act as adjuvants of antibiotics. In this context, plant-derived compounds have been widely investigated. Cuminaldehyde is suggested as the major antimicrobial compound of the cumin seed essential oil. However, this effect is not fully understood. Herein, we investigated the in silico and in vitro activities of cuminaldehyde, as well as its ability to potentiate ciprofloxacin effects against S. aureus and E. coli. In silico analyses were performed by using different computational tools. The PASS online and SwissADME programmes were used for the prediction of biological activities and oral bioavailability of cuminaldehyde. For analysis of the possible toxic effects and the theoretical pharmacokinetic parameters of the compound, the Osiris, SwissADME and PROTOX programmes were used. Estimations of cuminaldehyde gastrointestinal absorption, blood brain barrier permeability and skin permeation by using SwissADME; and drug likeness and score by using Osiris, were also evaluated The in vitro antimicrobial effects of cuminaldehyde were determined by using microdilution, biofilm formation and time-kill assays. In silico analysis indicated that cuminaldehyde may act as an antimicrobial and as a membrane permeability enhancer. It was suggested to be highly absorbable by the gastrointestinal tract and likely to cross the blood brain barrier. Also, irritative and harmful effects were predicted for cuminaldehyde if swallowed at its LD50. Good oral bioavailability and drug score were also found for this compound. Cuminaldehyde presented antimicrobial and anti-biofilm effects against S. aureus and E. coli.. When co-incubated with ciprofloxacin, it enhanced the antibiotic antimicrobial and anti-biofilm actions. We suggest that cuminaldehyde may be useful as an adjuvant therapy to ciprofloxacin in S. aureus and E. coli-induced infections.

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<![CDATA[A compound attributes-based predictive model for drug induced liver injury in humans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndeb57c49-a1cc-41d4-9618-08dc56c45dac

Drug induced liver injury (DILI) is one of the key safety concerns in drug development. To assess the likelihood of drug candidates with potential adverse reactions of liver, we propose a compound attributes-based approach to predicting hepatobiliary disorders that are routinely reported to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS). Specifically, we developed a support vector machine (SVM) model with recursive feature extraction, based on physicochemical and structural properties of compounds as model input. Cross validation demonstrates that the predictive model has a robust performance with averaged 70% of both sensitivity and specificity over 500 trials. An independent validation was performed on public benchmark drugs and the results suggest potential utility of our model for identifying safety alerts. This in silico approach, upon further validation, would ultimately be implemented, together with other in vitro safety assays, for screening compounds early in drug development.

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<![CDATA[Tox_(R)CNN: Deep learning-based nuclei profiling tool for drug toxicity screening]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ae429d5eed0c48458907f

Toxicity is an important factor in failed drug development, and its efficient identification and prediction is a major challenge in drug discovery. We have explored the potential of microscopy images of fluorescently labeled nuclei for the prediction of toxicity based on nucleus pattern recognition. Deep learning algorithms obtain abstract representations of images through an automated process, allowing them to efficiently classify complex patterns, and have become the state-of-the art in machine learning for computer vision. Here, deep convolutional neural networks (CNN) were trained to predict toxicity from images of DAPI-stained cells pre-treated with a set of drugs with differing toxicity mechanisms. Different cropping strategies were used for training CNN models, the nuclei-cropping-based Tox_CNN model outperformed other models classifying cells according to health status. Tox_CNN allowed automated extraction of feature maps that clustered compounds according to mechanism of action. Moreover, fully automated region-based CNNs (RCNN) were implemented to detect and classify nuclei, providing per-cell toxicity prediction from raw screening images. We validated both Tox_(R)CNN models for detection of pre-lethal toxicity from nuclei images, which proved to be more sensitive and have broader specificity than established toxicity readouts. These models predicted toxicity of drugs with mechanisms of action other than those they had been trained for and were successfully transferred to other cell assays. The Tox_(R)CNN models thus provide robust, sensitive, and cost-effective tools for in vitro screening of drug-induced toxicity. These models can be adopted for compound prioritization in drug screening campaigns, and could thereby increase the efficiency of drug discovery.

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<![CDATA[Genome wide association study to identify predictors for severe skin toxicity in colorectal cancer patients treated with cetuximab]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c21513cd5eed0c4843f9470

EGFR-antibodies are associated with significant skin toxicity, including acneiform rash and folliculitis. It remains impossible to predict the occurrence of severe skin toxicity due to the lack of predictive markers. Here, we present the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) to find single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with EGFR inhibitor-induced skin toxicity using data of the multicentre randomized phase III CAIRO2 trial (clinicaltrials.gov NCT00208546). In this study, advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer patients were treated with capecitabine, oxaliplatin and bevacizumab with or without cetuximab. Germline DNA was available in 282 of the 368 patients in the cetuximab arm. Mild skin toxicity occurred in 195 patients (i.e. CTC grade 1 or 2, respectively 91 and 104 patients) and severe skin toxicity (i.e. grade 3) in 36 patients. Grade 4 skin toxicity did not occur. None of the SNPs reached the formal genome wide threshold for significance of 5x10-8, though SNPs of at least 8 loci did show moderate association (p-value between 5x10-7 and 5x10-5) with the occurrence of grade 3 (severe) skin toxicity. These SNPs did not overlap with SNPs associated with cetuximab efficacy as found in a previous GWAS in the same CAIRO2 cohort. If formally proven by replication, the SNPs associated with severe EGFR induced skin toxicity may be helpful to predict the occurrence and severity of skin toxicity in patients that will receive cetuximab and allow for adequate information on the risk of skin toxicity and prophylactic measurements.

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<![CDATA[The predictive value of quantitative nucleic acid amplification detection of Clostridium difficile toxin gene for faecal sample toxin status and patient outcome]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c117bd0d5eed0c48469a858

Background

Laboratory diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) remains unsettled, despite updated guidelines. We investigated the potential utility of quantitative data from a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) for C. difficile toxin gene (tg) for patient management.

Methods

Using data from the largest ever C. difficile diagnostic study (8853 diarrhoeal samples from 7335 patients), we determined the predicative value of C. difficile tgNAAT (Cepheid Xpert C.diff) low cycle threshold (CT) value for patient toxin positive status, CDI severity, mortality and CDI recurrence. Reference methods for CDI diagnosis were cytotoxicity assay (CTA) and cytotoxigenic culture (CTC).

Results

Of 1281 tgNAAT positive faecal samples, 713 and 917 were CTA and CTC positive, respectively. The median tgNAAT CT for patients who died was 25.5 vs 27.5 for survivors (p = 0.021); for toxin-positivity was 24.9 vs 31.6 for toxin-negative samples (p<0.001) and for patients with a recurrence episode was 25.6 vs 27.3 for those who did not have a recurrent episode (p = 0.111). Following optimal cut-off determination, low CT was defined as ≤25 and was significantly associated with a toxin-positive result (P<0.001, positive predictive value 83.9%), presence of PCR-ribotype 027 (P = 0.025), and mortality (P = 0.032). Recurrence was not associated with low CT (p 0.111).

Conclusions

Low tgNAAT CT could indicate CTA positive patients, have more severe infection, increased risk of mortality and possibly recurrence. Although, the limited specificity of tgNAAT means it cannot be used as a standalone test, it could augment a more timely diagnosis, and optimise management of these at-risk patients.

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<![CDATA[Relative robustness of NOEC and ECx against large uncertainties in data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0841cbd5eed0c484fcac18

The relative ability of the NOEC (no-observed-effect concentration) and ECx (the effect concentration corresponding to x-percent response) to determine benchmark toxicant concentrations, which are expected to ensure environmental safety, when there are large uncertainties in data was investigated with Monte Carlo simulations. We assumed a hypothetical true concentration-response function, and examined how random fluctuations of responses around the true responses affected the NOEC and ECx values. For assessment of the relative performances of these endpoints, we adopted two criteria: how large uncertainties were allowed for the minimum requirement for safety to be met, and the probability with which the estimated endpoints exceeded the minimum requirement for safety. The results of simulations indicated that, when there were small uncertainties in the data, performance of the NOEC was comparable with or slightly better than the ECx (EC5 and EC10) in providing benchmark concentrations that satisfied the minimum requirement for safety. With larger random variation of data (the coefficient of variation in responses between replicates within treatments or in the control was noticeably larger than 10 percent), the NOEC performed considerably worse than the ECx in terms of the frequency of simulated runs in which the endpoints exceeded the minimum requirement of safety. We conclude that the NOEC is as relevant as the ECx for risk assessment of chemicals under limited situations.

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<![CDATA[Integrated Dataset of Screening Hits against Multiple Neglected Disease Pathogens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da56ab0ee8fa60b8ef9b

New chemical entities are desperately needed that overcome the limitations of existing drugs for neglected diseases. Screening a diverse library of 10,000 drug-like compounds against 7 neglected disease pathogens resulted in an integrated dataset of 744 hits. We discuss the prioritization of these hits for each pathogen and the strong correlation observed between compounds active against more than two pathogens and mammalian cell toxicity. Our work suggests that the efficiency of early drug discovery for neglected diseases can be enhanced through a collaborative, multi-pathogen approach.

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<![CDATA[Investigating the Effect of Emetic Compounds on Chemotaxis in Dictyostelium Identifies a Non-Sentient Model for Bitter and Hot Tastant Research]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae6ab0ee8fa60bbd91f

Novel chemical entities (NCEs) may be investigated for emetic liability in a range of unpleasant experiments involving retching, vomiting or conditioned taste aversion/food avoidance in sentient animals. We have used a range of compounds with known emetic /aversive properties to examine the possibility of using the social amoeba, Dictyostelium discoideum, for research into identifying and understanding emetic liability, and hence reduce adverse animal experimentation in this area. Twenty eight emetic or taste aversive compounds were employed to investigate the acute (10 min) effect of compounds on Dictyostelium cell behaviour (shape, speed and direction of movement) in a shallow chemotaxic gradient (Dunn chamber). Compound concentrations were chosen based on those previously reported to be emetic or aversive in in vivo studies and results were recorded and quantified by automated image analysis. Dictyostelium cell motility was rapidly and strongly inhibited by four structurally distinct tastants (three bitter tasting compounds - denatonium benzoate, quinine hydrochloride, phenylthiourea, and the pungent constituent of chilli peppers - capsaicin). In addition, stomach irritants (copper chloride and copper sulphate), and a phosphodiesterase IV inhibitor also rapidly blocked movement. A concentration-dependant relationship was established for five of these compounds, showing potency of inhibition as capsaicin (IC50 = 11.9±4.0 µM) > quinine hydrochloride (IC50 = 44.3±6.8 µM) > denatonium benzoate (IC50 = 129±4 µM) > phenylthiourea (IC50 = 366±5 µM) > copper sulphate (IC50 = 1433±3 µM). In contrast, 21 compounds within the cytotoxic and receptor agonist/antagonist classes did not affect cell behaviour. Further analysis of bitter and pungent compounds showed that the effect on cell behaviour was reversible and not cytotoxic, suggesting an uncharacterised molecular mechanism of action for these compounds. These results therefore demonstrate that Dictyostelium has potential as a non-sentient model in the analysis of the molecular effects of tastants, although it has limited utility in identification of emetic agents in general.

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<![CDATA[Identification of Novel Translational Urinary Biomarkers for Acetaminophen-Induced Acute Liver Injury Using Proteomic Profiling in Mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da91ab0ee8fa60ba002b

Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is the leading cause of acute liver failure. Currently, no adequate predictive biomarkers for DILI are available. This study describes a translational approach using proteomic profiling for the identification of urinary proteins related to acute liver injury induced by acetaminophen (APAP). Mice were given a single intraperitoneal dose of APAP (0–350 mg/kg bw) followed by 24 h urine collection. Doses of ≥275 mg/kg bw APAP resulted in hepatic centrilobular necrosis and significantly elevated plasma alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values (p<0.0001). Proteomic profiling resulted in the identification of 12 differentially excreted proteins in urine of mice with acute liver injury (p<0.001), including superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), carbonic anhydrase 3 (CA3) and calmodulin (CaM), as novel biomarkers for APAP-induced liver injury. Urinary levels of SOD1 and CA3 increased with rising plasma ALT levels, but urinary CaM was already present in mice treated with high dose of APAP without elevated plasma ALT levels. Importantly, we showed in human urine after APAP intoxication the presence of SOD1 and CA3, whereas both proteins were absent in control urine samples. Urinary concentrations of CaM were significantly increased and correlated well with plasma APAP concentrations (r = 0.97; p<0.0001) in human APAP intoxicants, who did not present with elevated plasma ALT levels. In conclusion, using this urinary proteomics approach we demonstrate CA3, SOD1 and, most importantly, CaM as potential human biomarkers for APAP-induced liver injury.

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<![CDATA[Quantitative Cross-Species Extrapolation between Humans and Fish: The Case of the Anti-Depressant Fluoxetine]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dacfab0ee8fa60bb5b0c

Fish are an important model for the pharmacological and toxicological characterization of human pharmaceuticals in drug discovery, drug safety assessment and environmental toxicology. However, do fish respond to pharmaceuticals as humans do? To address this question, we provide a novel quantitative cross-species extrapolation approach (qCSE) based on the hypothesis that similar plasma concentrations of pharmaceuticals cause comparable target-mediated effects in both humans and fish at similar level of biological organization (Read-Across Hypothesis). To validate this hypothesis, the behavioural effects of the anti-depressant drug fluoxetine on the fish model fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) were used as test case. Fish were exposed for 28 days to a range of measured water concentrations of fluoxetine (0.1, 1.0, 8.0, 16, 32, 64 µg/L) to produce plasma concentrations below, equal and above the range of Human Therapeutic Plasma Concentrations (HTPCs). Fluoxetine and its metabolite, norfluoxetine, were quantified in the plasma of individual fish and linked to behavioural anxiety-related endpoints. The minimum drug plasma concentrations that elicited anxiolytic responses in fish were above the upper value of the HTPC range, whereas no effects were observed at plasma concentrations below the HTPCs. In vivo metabolism of fluoxetine in humans and fish was similar, and displayed bi-phasic concentration-dependent kinetics driven by the auto-inhibitory dynamics and saturation of the enzymes that convert fluoxetine into norfluoxetine. The sensitivity of fish to fluoxetine was not so dissimilar from that of patients affected by general anxiety disorders. These results represent the first direct evidence of measured internal dose response effect of a pharmaceutical in fish, hence validating the Read-Across hypothesis applied to fluoxetine. Overall, this study demonstrates that the qCSE approach, anchored to internal drug concentrations, is a powerful tool to guide the assessment of the sensitivity of fish to pharmaceuticals, and strengthens the translational power of the cross-species extrapolation.

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<![CDATA[A Computational Approach to Evaluate the Androgenic Affinity of Iprodione, Procymidone, Vinclozolin and Their Metabolites]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d1ab0ee8fa60b64642

Our research is aimed at devising and assessing a computational approach to evaluate the affinity of endocrine active substances (EASs) and their metabolites towards the ligand binding domain (LBD) of the androgen receptor (AR) in three distantly related species: human, rat, and zebrafish. We computed the affinity for all the selected molecules following a computational approach based on molecular modelling and docking. Three different classes of molecules with well-known endocrine activity (iprodione, procymidone, vinclozolin, and a selection of their metabolites) were evaluated. Our approach was demonstrated useful as the first step of chemical safety evaluation since ligand-target interaction is a necessary condition for exerting any biological effect. Moreover, a different sensitivity concerning AR LBD was computed for the tested species (rat being the least sensitive of the three). This evidence suggests that, in order not to over−/under-estimate the risks connected with the use of a chemical entity, further in vitro and/or in vivo tests should be carried out only after an accurate evaluation of the most suitable cellular system or animal species. The introduction of in silico approaches to evaluate hazard can accelerate discovery and innovation with a lower economic effort than with a fully wet strategy.

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<![CDATA[Transcriptome Profiling of Peripheral Blood Cells Identifies Potential Biomarkers for Doxorubicin Cardiotoxicity in a Rat Model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db2bab0ee8fa60bd14e8

Aims

Doxorubicin (DOX), a widely used anticancer agent, can cause an unpredictable cardiac toxicity which remains a major limitation in cancer chemotherapy. There is a need for noninvasive, sensitive and specific biomarkers which will allow identifying patients at risk for DOX-induced cardiotoxicity to prevent permanent cardiac damage. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the expression of specific genes in the peripheral blood can be used as surrogate marker(s) for DOX-induced cardiotoxicity.

Methods/Results

Rats were treated with a single dose of DOX similar to one single dose that is often administered in humans. The cardiac and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) genome-wide expression profiling were examined using Illumina microarrays. The results showed 4,409 differentially regulated genes (DRG) in the hearts and 4,120 DRG in PBMC. Of these 2411 genes were similarly DRG (SDRG) in both the heart and PBMC. Pathway analysis of the three datasets of DRG using Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis and Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA) showed that most of the genes in these datasets fell into pathways related to oxidative stress response and protein ubiquination. IPA search for potential eligible biomarkers for cardiovascular disease within the SDRG list revealed 188 molecules.

Conclusions

We report the first in-depth comparison of DOX-induced global gene expression profiles of hearts and PBMCs. The high similarity between the gene expression profiles of the heart and PBMC induced by DOX indicates that the PBMC transcriptome may serve as a surrogate marker of DOX-induced cardiotoxicity. Future directions of this research will include analysis of PBMC expression profiles of cancer patients treated with DOX-based chemotherapy to identify the cardiotoxicity risk, predict DOX-treatment response and ultimately to allow individualized anti-cancer therapy.

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<![CDATA[Definition of Human Epitopes Recognized in Tetanus Toxoid and Development of an Assay Strategy to Detect Ex Vivo Tetanus CD4+ T Cell Responses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db27ab0ee8fa60bd07a8

Despite widespread uses of tetanus toxoid (TT) as a vaccine, model antigen and protein carrier, TT epitopes have been poorly characterized. Herein we defined the human CD4+ T cell epitope repertoire by reevaluation of previously described epitopes and evaluation of those derived from prediction of HLA Class II binding. Forty-seven epitopes were identified following in vitro TT stimulation, with 28 epitopes accounting for 90% of the total response. Despite this diverse range of epitopes, individual responses were associated with only a few immunodominant epitopes, with each donor responding on average to 3 epitopes. For the top 14 epitopes, HLA restriction could be inferred based on HLA typing of the responding donors. HLA binding predictions re-identified the vast majority of known epitopes, and identified 24 additional novel epitopes. With these epitopes, we created a TT epitope pool, which allowed us to characterize TT responses directly ex vivo using a cytokine-independent Activation Induced Marker (AIM) assay. These TT responses were highly Th1 or Th2 polarized, which was dependent upon the original priming vaccine, either the cellular DTwP or acellular DTaP formulation. This polarization remained despite the original priming having occurred decades past and a recent booster immunization with a reduced acellular vaccine formulation. While TT responses following booster vaccination were not durably increased in magnitude, they were associated with a relative expansion of CD4+ effector memory T cells.

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<![CDATA[Automated Phenotype Recognition for Zebrafish Embryo Based In Vivo High Throughput Toxicity Screening of Engineered Nano-Materials]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab0ab0ee8fa60bab13b

A phenotype recognition model was developed for high throughput screening (HTS) of engineered Nano-Materials (eNMs) toxicity using zebrafish embryo developmental response classified, from automatically captured images and without manual manipulation of zebrafish positioning, by three basic phenotypes (i.e., hatched, unhatched, and dead). The recognition model was built with a set of vectorial descriptors providing image color and texture information. The best performing model was attained with three image descriptors (color histogram, representative color, and color layout) identified as most suitable from an initial pool of six descriptors. This model had an average recognition accuracy of 97.40±0.95% in a 10-fold cross-validation and 93.75% in a stress test of low quality zebrafish images. The present work has shown that a phenotyping model can be developed with accurate recognition ability suitable for zebrafish-based HTS assays. Although the present methodology was successfully demonstrated for only three basic zebrafish embryonic phenotypes, it can be readily adapted to incorporate more subtle phenotypes.

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<![CDATA[Early Postnatal Exposure to a Low Dose of Decabromodiphenyl Ether Affects Expression of Androgen and Thyroid Hormone Receptor-Alpha and Its Splicing Variants in Mouse Sertoli Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e1ab0ee8fa60b69837

Decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) adversely affects reproduction and development. Our previous study showed that postnatal exposure to a low dose of decaBDE (0.025 mg/kg body weight/day) by subcutaneous injection on postnatal days (PNDs) 1 through 5 leads to reductions in testicular size and number of Sertoli cells and sperm, while higher dose of decaBDE (2.5 mg/kg body weight/day) had no significant differences about these. In the present study, we examined the molecular mechanism of these effects on mouse testes following postnatal exposure to a low decaBDE dose. We hypothesized that postnatal exposure to decaBDE may alter levels of serum thyroid hormones (THs) and testosterone, or the level of TH receptor alpha (Thra) transcripts and its splicing variants and androgen receptor (Ar) in Sertoli cells, adversely affecting spermatogenesis. To test this hypothesis, we examined serum TH and testosterone levels and the levels of transcripts of the Ar, Thra and its splicing variants, and Thra splicing factors (Hnrnpa1, Srsf1, and Hnrnph1) with qPCR in isolated mouse Sertoli cells exposed postnatally to decaBDE (0.025, 0.25, and 2.5 mg/kg). Levels of serum testosterone and transcripts encoding Ar, Thra, and its variant, Thra1, declined significantly in Sertoli cells of mice exposed to 0.025 mg decaBDE/kg. No significant differences in serum TH level or Thra2, Hnrnph1, or Srsf1 transcript levels were observed between control and decaBDE-exposed mice. However, the Thra1:Thra2 and Hnrnpa1:Srsf1 ratios were altered in Sertoli cells of mice exposed to 0.025 mg decaBDE/kg but not in cells exposed to 0.25 or 2.5 mg decaBDE/kg. These results indicate that postnatal exposure to a low dose of decaBDE on PNDs 1 through 5 lowers the testosterone level and the levels of Ar and Thra transcripts in Sertoli cells, accompanied by an imbalance in the ratios of Thra splicing variants, resulting in smaller testicular size and impaired spermatogenesis.

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<![CDATA[High Content Analysis Provides Mechanistic Insights on the Pathways of Toxicity Induced by Amine-Modified Polystyrene Nanoparticles]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9feab0ee8fa60b7324b

The fast-paced development of nanotechnology needs the support of effective safety testing. We have developed a screening platform measuring simultaneously several cellular parameters for exposure to various concentrations of nanoparticles (NPs). Cell lines representative of different organ cell types, including lung, endothelium, liver, kidney, macrophages, glia, and neuronal cells were exposed to 50 nm amine-modified polystyrene (PS-NH2) NPs previously reported to induce apoptosis and to 50 nm sulphonated and carboxyl-modified polystyrene NPs that were reported to be silent. All cell lines apart from Raw 264.7 executed apoptosis in response to PS-NH2 NPs, showing specific sequences of EC50 thresholds; lysosomal acidification was the most sensitive parameter. Loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and plasma membrane integrity measured by High Content Analysis resulted comparably sensitive to the equivalent OECD-recommended assays, allowing increased output. Analysis of the acidic compartments revealed good cerrelation between size/fluorescence intensity and dose of PS-NH2 NPs applied; moreover steatosis and phospholipidosis were observed, consistent with the lysosomal alterations revealed by Lysotracker green; similar responses were observed when comparing astrocytoma cells with primary astrocytes. We have established a platform providing mechanistic insights on the response to exposure to nanoparticles. Such platform holds great potential for in vitro screening of nanomaterials in highthroughput format.

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<![CDATA[Impact of Sublethal Levels of Environmental Pollutants Found in Sewage Sludge on a Novel Caenorhabditis elegans Model Biosensor]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5eab0ee8fa60b907b7

A transgenic strain of the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans in which bioluminescence reports on relative, whole-organism ATP levels was used to test an environmentally-relevant mixture of pollutants extracted from processed sewage sludge. Changes in bioluminescence, following exposure to sewage sludge extract, were used to assess relative ATP levels and overall metabolic health. Reproductive function and longevity were also monitored. A short (up to 8 h) sublethal exposure of L4 larval stage worms to sewage sludge extract had a concentration-dependent, detrimental effect on energy status, with bioluminescence decreasing to 50–60% of the solvent control (1% DMSO). Following longer exposure (22–24 h), the energy status of the nematodes showed recovery as assessed by bioluminescence. Continuous exposure to sewage sludge extract from the L4 stage resulted in a shorter median lifespan relative to that of solvent or medium control animals, but only in the presence of 400–600 µM 5-fluoro-2′-deoxyuridine (FUdR), which was incorporated to inhibit reproduction. This indicated that FUdR increased lifespan, and that the effect was counteracted by SSE. Exposure to sewage sludge extract from the L1 stage led to slower growth and a delayed onset of egg laying. When L1 exposed nematodes reached the reproductive stage, no effect on egg laying rate or egg number in the uterus was observed. DMSO itself (1%) had a significant inhibitory effect on growth and development of C. elegans exposed from the L1 stage and on reproduction when exposed from the L4 stage. Results demonstrate subtle adverse effects on C. elegans of a complex mixture of environmental pollutants that are present, individually, in very low concentrations and indicate that our biosensor of energy status is a novel, sensitive, rapid, quantitative, whole-organism test system which is suitable for high throughput risk assessment of complex pollutant mixtures.

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<![CDATA[Enantioselective Cytotoxicity Profile of o,p’-DDT in PC 12 Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dabaab0ee8fa60bae43c

Background

The continued uses of dichlordiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) for indoor vector control in some developing countries have recently fueled intensive debates toward the global ban of this persistent legacy contaminant. Current approaches for ecological and health risk assessment has ignored the chiral nature of DDT. In this study by employing an array of cytotoxicity related endpoints, we investigated the enantioselective cytotoxicity of o,p’-DDT.

Principal Findings

we demonstrated for the first time that R-(−)-o,p’-DDT caused more neuron cell death by inducing more severe oxidative stress, which selectively imbalanced the transcription of stress-related genes (SOD1, SOD2, HSP70) and enzyme (superoxide dismutase and lactate dehydrogenase) activities, and greater cellular apoptosis compared to its enantiomer S-(+)-o,p’-DDT at the level comparable to malaria area exposure (parts per million). We further elucidated enantioselective modes of action using microarray combined with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The enantioselective apoptosis might involve three signaling pathways via caspase 3, tumor protein 53 (p53) and NFkB.

Conclusions

Based on DDT stereochemistry and results reported for other chiral pesticides, our results pointed to the same directional enantioselectivity of chiral DDT toward mammalian cells. We proposed that risk assessment on DDT should consider the enantiomer ratio and enantioselectivities.

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<![CDATA[Perturbation of microRNAs in Rat Heart during Chronic Doxorubicin Treatment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dacbab0ee8fa60bb451f

Anti-cancer therapy based on anthracyclines (DNA intercalating Topoisomerase II inhibitors) is limited by adverse effects of these compounds on the cardiovascular system, ultimately causing heart failure. Despite extensive investigations into the effects of doxorubicin on the cardiovascular system, the molecular mechanisms of toxicity remain largely unknown. MicroRNAs are endogenously transcribed non-coding 22 nucleotide long RNAs that regulate gene expression by decreasing mRNA stability and translation and play key roles in cardiac physiology and pathologies. Increasing doses of doxorubicin, but not etoposide (a Topoisomerase II inhibitor devoid of cardiovascular toxicity), specifically induced the up-regulation of miR-208b, miR-216b, miR-215, miR-34c and miR-367 in rat hearts. Furthermore, the lowest dosing regime (1 mg/kg/week for 2 weeks) led to a detectable increase of miR-216b in the absence of histopathological findings or alteration of classical cardiac stress biomarkers. In silico microRNA target predictions suggested that a number of doxorubicin-responsive microRNAs may regulate mRNAs involved in cardiac tissue remodeling. In particular miR-34c was able to mediate the DOX-induced changes of Sipa1 mRNA (a mitogen-induced Rap/Ran GTPase activating protein) at the post-transcriptional level and in a seed sequence dependent manner. Our results show that integrated heart tissue microRNA and mRNA profiling can provide valuable early genomic biomarkers of drug-induced cardiac injury as well as novel mechanistic insight into the underlying molecular pathways.

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<![CDATA[Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: Defining New Risk Assessment Approaches Based on Perturbation of Intracellular Toxicity Pathways]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9fbab0ee8fa60b720c0

The approaches to quantitatively assessing the health risks of chemical exposure have not changed appreciably in the past 50 to 80 years, the focus remaining on high-dose studies that measure adverse outcomes in homogeneous animal populations. This expensive, low-throughput approach relies on conservative extrapolations to relate animal studies to much lower-dose human exposures and is of questionable relevance to predicting risks to humans at their typical low exposures. It makes little use of a mechanistic understanding of the mode of action by which chemicals perturb biological processes in human cells and tissues. An alternative vision, proposed by the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) report Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy, called for moving away from traditional high-dose animal studies to an approach based on perturbation of cellular responses using well-designed in vitro assays. Central to this vision are (a) “toxicity pathways” (the innate cellular pathways that may be perturbed by chemicals) and (b) the determination of chemical concentration ranges where those perturbations are likely to be excessive, thereby leading to adverse health effects if present for a prolonged duration in an intact organism. In this paper we briefly review the original NRC report and responses to that report over the past 3 years, and discuss how the change in testing might be achieved in the U.S. and in the European Union (EU). EU initiatives in developing alternatives to animal testing of cosmetic ingredients have run very much in parallel with the NRC report. Moving from current practice to the NRC vision would require using prototype toxicity pathways to develop case studies showing the new vision in action. In this vein, we also discuss how the proposed strategy for toxicity testing might be applied to the toxicity pathways associated with DNA damage and repair.

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