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Frizzell C.,Queen's University of Belfast | Verhaegen S.,Section of Experimental Biomedicine | Ropstad E.,Section of Experimental Biomedicine | Elliott C.T.,Queen's University of Belfast | Connolly L.,Queen's University of Belfast
Toxicology Letters | Year: 2013

Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin and extrolite of fungi which has been reported in a range of foods. This study uses mammalian reporter gene assays (RGAs) with natural steroid receptors and the H295R steroidogenesis assay to assess the endocrine disrupting activity of OTA. At the receptor level, OTA (within a concentration range of 0.25-2500. ng/ml) did not induce an agonistic response in an oestrogen, androgen, progestagen or glucocorticoid RGA. An antagonistic effect was observed in all of the RGAs at the highest concentration tested (2500. ng/ml). However, while there was no significant cytotoxic effect observed in the MTT (thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide) cell viability assay at this concentration, there was a corresponding change in cell morphology which may be related to the resulting antagonistic effect. At the hormone production level, H295R cells were used as a steroidogenesis model and exposed to OTA (within a concentration range of 0.1-1000. ng/ml). Treatment of the cells with 1000. ng/ml OTA increased the production of estradiol (117 ± 14. ng/ml) over 3 times that of the solvent control (36 ± 9. pg/ml). Western blotting confirmed an increase in aromatase protein. Overall the results indicate that OTA does not appear to interact with steroid receptors but has the potential to cause endocrine disruption by interfering with steroidogenesis. This is the first study identifying the effect OTA may have on production of the steroid hormone estradiol. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

Frizzell C.,Queen's University of Belfast | Ndossi D.,Section of Experimental Biomedicine | Ndossi D.,Sokoine University of Agriculture | Kalayou S.,Section of Experimental Biomedicine | And 7 more authors.
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology | Year: 2013

Alternariol (AOH) is a mycotoxin commonly produced by Alternaria alternata on a wide range of foods. Few studies to date have been performed to evaluate the effects of AOH on endocrine activity. The present study makes use of in vitro mammalian cellular based assays and gene expression to investigate the ability of AOH to act as an endocrine disruptor by various modes of action. Reporter gene assays (RGAs), incorporating natural steroid hormone receptors for oestrogens, androgens, progestagens and glucocorticoids were used to identify endocrine disruption at the level of nuclear receptor transcriptional activity, and the H295R steroidogenesis assay was used to assess endocrine disruption at the level of gene expression and steroid hormone production. AOH exhibited a weak oestrogenic response when tested in the oestrogen responsive RGA and binding of progesterone to the progestagen receptor was shown to be synergistically increased in the presence of AOH. H295R cells when exposed to 0.1-1000. ng/ml AOH, did not cause a significant change in testosterone and cortisol hormones but exposure to 1000. ng/ml (3.87. μM) AOH resulted in a significant increase in estradiol and progesterone production. In the gene expression study following exposure to 1000. ng/ml (3.87. μM) AOH, only one gene NR0B1 was down-regulated, whereas expression of mRNA for CYP1A1, MC2R, HSD3B2, CYP17, CYP21, CYP11B2 and CYP19 was up-regulated. Expression of the other genes investigated did not change significantly. In conclusion AOH is a weak oestrogenic mycotoxin that also has the ability to interfere with the steroidogenesis pathway. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Kalayou S.,Section of Experimental Biomedicine | Kalayou S.,Mekelle University | Ndossi D.,Sokoine University of Agriculture | Frizzell C.,Queen's University of Belfast | And 5 more authors.
Toxicology Letters | Year: 2015

Evidence that some of the fungal metabolites present in food and feed may act as potential endocrine disruptors is increasing. Enniatin B (ENN B) is among the emerging Fusarium mycotoxins known to contaminate cereals. In this study, the H295R and neonatal porcine Leydig cell (LC) models, and reporter gene assays (RGAs) have been used to investigate the endocrine disrupting activity of ENN B. Aspects of cell viability, cell cycle distribution, hormone production as well as the expression of key steroidogenic genes were assessed using the H295R cell model. Cell viability and hormone production levels were determined in the LC model, while cell viability and steroid hormone nuclear receptor transcriptional activity were measured using the RGAs. ENN B (0.01-100μM) was cytotoxic in the H295R and LC models used; following 48h incubation with 100μM. Flow cytometry analysis showed that ENN B exposure (0.1-25μM) led to an increased proportion of cells in the S phase at higher ENN B doses (>10μM) while cells at G0/G1 phase were reduced. At the receptor level, ENN B (0.00156-15.6μM) did not appear to induce any specific (ant) agonistic responses in reporter gene assays (RGAs), however cell viability was affected at 15.6μM. Measurement of hormone levels in H295R cells revealed that the production of progesterone, testosterone and cortisol in exposed cells were reduced, but the level of estradiol was not significantly affected. There was a general reduction of estradiol and testosterone levels in exposed LC. Only the highest dose (100μM) used had a significant effect, suggesting the observed inhibitory effect is more likely associated with the cytotoxic effect observed at this dose. Gene transcription analysis in H295R cells showed that twelve of the sixteen genes were significantly modulated (p<0.05) by ENN B (10μM) compared to the control. Genes HMGR, StAR, CYP11A, 3βHSD2 and CYP17 were downregulated, whereas the expression of CYP1A1, NR0B1, MC2R, CYP21, CYP11B1, CYP11B2 and CYP19 were upregulated. The reduction of hormones and modulation of genes at the lower dose (10μM) in the H295R cells suggests that adrenal endocrine toxicity is an important potential hazard. © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

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