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

Responsiveness of the adult male rat reproductive tract to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin exposure: Ah receptor and ARNT expression, CYP1A1 induction, and Ah receptor down-regulation.

Exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) either in adulthood or during late fetal and early postnatal development causes a variety of adverse effects on the male rat reproductive system. It was therefore of interest to identify male rat reproductive organs and cell types within these organs that might be direct targets of TCDD exposure. Because TCDD toxicity could possibly be the result of alterations in gene transcription mediated by the TCDD/aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)/AhR nuclear translocator (ARNT) complex, the presence of the AhR and ARNT in the various organs of the adult male reproductive tract was examined using Western blotting. Both proteins were detectable in all organs examined (testis, epididymis, vas deferens, ventral prostate, dorsolateral [combined dorsal and lateral] prostate, and seminal vesicle). Although technical difficulties precluded the immunohistochemical evaluation of AhR distribution in these organs, ARNT was localized in all organs in a variety of cell types, including germ cells, epithelial cells, fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells. Subcellular localization varied across organs and across cell types within these organs. In order to determine whether TCDD exposure could alter gene expression in these organs, animals were dosed with TCDD (25 micrograms/kg po) or vehicle and euthanized at 24 h, and cytochrome P4501A1 (CYP1A1) expression was evaluated. By Western blotting, only the ventral and dorsolateral prostates exhibited significant induction of CYP1A1. Immunohistochemistry confirmed this induction and localized CYP1A1 expression to epithelial cells of the ventral and lateral lobes of the prostate. Immunohistochemistry also revealed CYP1A1 induction in select epithelial cells in the epididymis and seminal vesicle, as well as endothelial cells in the vas deferens and seminal vesicle. No induction was observed in the testis. Finally, AhR and ARNT expression in TCDD-exposed and control animals was evaluated by Western blotting. Results revealed no effect of TCDD exposure on ARNT protein expression, while AhR expression was decreased to 5-51% of control in all organs examined. In summary, both AhR and ARNT were expressed in all organs of the adult male rat reproductive tract examined, and epithelial and/or endothelial cells within each of these organs (with the exception of the testis) were responsive to TCDD exposure in terms of CYP1A1 induction. In addition, all tissues exhibited marked reductions in AhR protein content after TCDD exposure that did not correlate with the magnitude of the CYP1A1 response.[1]


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