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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Thioureas differentially induce rat hepatic microsomal epoxide hydrolase and rGSTA2 irrespective of their oxygen radical scavenging effect: effects on toxicant-induced liver injury.

Thioureas have been employed as potent hydroxyl radical scavengers and also inhibit production of oxygen free radicals. The in vitro oxygen radical scavenging effect by N,N'-substituted thioureas including dimethylthiourea (DMT), diethylthiourea (DET), tetramethylthiourea (TMT) and diphenylthiourea (DPT) was assessed by the conversion of phi x-174 DNA from supercoiled DNA to the open circular form or to fragmented DNA. Addition of the N,N'-substituted thioureas to the incubation mixture significantly prevented a single strand breakage of phi x-174 DNA induced by autooxidation of benzenetriol. These thioureas were also effective in preventing degradation of phi x-174 DNA induced by autooxidation of benzenetriol in the presence of ferrous iron. In view of the in vitro radical scavenging effect by the thioureas and the role of reactive oxygen species in the induction of phase II detoxifying enzymes, expression of microsomal epoxide hydrolase ( mEH) and rGSTA2 in response to these agents was investigated in the rat liver. Rats treated with each of the alkylthioureas exhibited marked increases of mEH and rGSTA2 mRNA levels with TMT being the most effective. DPT an arylthiourea, however, was minimally active in increasing the mRNAs. Time-course studies revealed that DMT, DET and TMT increased the mRNA levels to the greatest extent at 24 h after a single dose of treatment. The levels of mEH and rGSTA2 mRNA were elevated in a dose-dependent manner by the alkylthioureas. Immunoblot analysis showed that the alkylthioureas induced mEH and rGSTA2 proteins in the liver (0.6 mmol/kg per day, 3 days), which was consistent with the increases in the mRNA levels. DMT, DET or TMT enhanced CCl4-induced liver toxicity, as monitored by plasma aminotransferase activity, although each of the agents alone caused only slight increase in the alanine aminotransferase activity. In contrast to the effects of the alkylthioureas, DPT protected the liver against the toxicant-induced injury. All of the thioureas prevented decreases in the hepatic glutathione level by CCl4. Expression of cytochrome P450 2E1 and P450 2B1/2, which are implicated with metabolic activation of CCl4, was assessed after treatment with the thioureas. P450 2E1 and P450 2B1/2 were differentially induced by the alkylthioureas with the expression of P450 2E1 being inversely related with that of P450 2B1/2. These results showed that N,N'-substituted alkylthioureas were capable of inducing mEH and rGSTA2 in the liver with elevation of the mRNAs, that induction of mEH and rGSTA2 by these alkylthioureas might be mediated by production of the reactive oxygens derived from metabolic activation of the agents irrespective of their radical scavenging effect and that the agents rather enhanced toxicant-induced liver injury with the induction of P450 2E1 or P450 2B1/2.[1]


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