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Toxicogenomics of Subchronic Hexachlorobenzene Exposure in Brown Norway Rats

Janine Ezendam, Frank Staedtler, Jeroen Pennings, Rob J. Vandebriel, Raymond Pieters, Johannes H. Harleman and Joseph G. Vos
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 112, No. 7 (May, 2004), pp. 782-791
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3435817
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Toxicogenomics of Subchronic Hexachlorobenzene Exposure in Brown Norway Rats
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Abstract

Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) is a persistent environmental pollutant with toxic effects in man and rat. Reported adverse effects are hepatic porphyria, neurotoxicity, and adverse effects on the reproductive and immune system. To obtain more insight into HCB-induced mechanisms of toxicity, we studied gene expression levels using DNA microarrays. For 4 weeks, Brown Norway rats were fed a diet supplemented with 0, 150, or 450 mg HCB/kg. Spleen, mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN), thymus, blood, liver, and kidney were collected and analyzed using the Affymetrix rat RGU-34A GeneChip microarray. Most significant (p < 0.001) changes, compared to the control group, occurred in spleen, followed by liver, kidney, blood, and MLN, but only a few genes were affected in thymus. This was to be expected, as the thymus is not a target organ of HCB. Transcriptome profiles confirmed known effects of HCB such as stimulatory effects on the immune system and induction of enzymes involved in drug metabolism, porphyria, and the reproductive system. In line with previous histopathological findings were increased transcript levels of markers for granulocytes and macrophages. New findings include the upregulation of genes encoding proinflammatory cytokines, antioxidants, acute phase proteins, mast cell markers, complements, chemokines, and cell adhesion molecules. Generally, gene expression data provide evidence that HCB induces a systemic inflammatory response, accompanied by oxidative stress and an acute phase response. In conclusion, this study confirms previously observed (immuno)toxicological effects of HCB but also reveals several new and mechanistically relevant gene products. Thus, transcriptome profiles can be used as markers for several of the processes that occur after HCB exposure.

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