Author(s): Tchounwou PB, Yedjou CG, Foxx DN, Ishaque AB, Shen E, Tchounwou PB, Yedjou CG, Foxx DN, Ishaque AB, Shen E
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Abstract Lead is a non-essential element that exhibits a high degree of toxicity, especially in children. Most research on lead has focused on its effects on organ systems such as the nervous system, the red blood cells, and the kidneys which are considered to be the primary targets of lead toxicity. However, the molecular mechanisms by which it induces toxicity, and carcinogenesis remain to be elucidated. In this research, we performed the MTT assay to assess the cytotoxicity, and the CAT-Tox assay to assess the transcriptional responses associated with lead exposure to thirteen different recombinant cell lines generated from human liver carcinoma cells (HepG2), by creating stable transfectants of mammalian promoter chloramphenicol (CAT) gene fusions. Study results indicated that lead nitrate is cytotoxic to HepG2 cells, showing LD50 values of 49.0 +/- 18.0 microg/mL, 37.5 +/- 9.2 microg/mL, and 3.5 +/- 0.7 microg/mL for cell mortality upon 24, 48 and 72 h of exposure, respectively; indicating a dose- and time-dependent response with regard to the cytotoxic effect of lead nitrate. A dose-response relationship was also recorded with respect to the induction of stress genes in HepG2 cells exposed to lead nitrate. Overall, six out of the thirteen recombinant cell lines tested showed inductions to statistically significant levels (p < 0.05). At 50 microg/mL of lead nitrate, the average fold inductions were: 2.1 +/- 1.0, 5.4 +/- 0.4, 12.1 +/- 6.2, 5.0 +/- 1.7, 2.5 +/- 1.3, and 4.8 +/- 4.5 for XRE, HSP70, CRE, GADD153, and GRP78, respectively. These results indicate the potential for lead nitrate to undergo biotransformation in the liver (XRE), to cause cell proliferation (c-fos), protein damage (HSP70, GRP78), metabolic perturbation (CRE), and growth arrest and DNA damage (GADD153). Marginal but not significant inductions were also obtained with the GSTYa (1.5 +/- 0.8), and GADD45 (5.7 +/- 8.1) promoters, and the NF-KB (2.0 +/- 1.7) response element, indicating the potential for oxidative stress. No significant inductions (p > 0.05) were recorded for CYP1A1, HMTIIA, p53RE, and RARE.
This article was published in Mol Cell Biochem
and referenced in Journal of Civil & Environmental Engineering