Continuous lifetime exposure to certain natural and man-made chemicals is a major cause of cancers in humans; therefore, evaluating the carcinogenic risks of chemicals remains important. Currently, substantial progress has been made in identification of genotoxic carcinogens; in contrast, predicting the carcinogenic potential of nongenotoxic compounds is a challenge due to many different modes of action that may lead to tumorigenesis. In the present study, we investigated the effects of the nongenotoxic liver carcinogen methapyrilene and the nongenotoxic noncarcinogen usnic acid, at doses that do not exhibit organ cytotoxicity, on epigenomic alterations in the livers and kidneys of Fischer 344 (F344) rats. We demonstrate that a repeat-dose oral treatment of male F344 rats with methapyrilene for 6 weeks caused target organ-specific epigenetic alterations in the livers. In contrast, only very slight epigenetic changes were found in the livers of F344 rats treated with hepatotoxicant, but noncarcinogen, usnic acid. The methapyrilene-induced epigenetic changes consisted of changes in histone lysine acetylation and methylation, with the greatest increase occurring in global and gene-specific histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) deacetylation. Importantly, the results of the present study show an association between gene-specific histone H3K9 deacetylation and a reduced expression of critical cancer-related genes, including prospero homeobox 1 (Prox1), HNF1 homebox A (Hnf1a), and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha (Ppara), which provides a mechanistic link between methapyrilene-induced epigenetic aberrations and liver carcinogenesis.
Toxicological Sciences – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2017
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