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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/11119

Title: Mechanisms of Genetic Resistance To Dioxin-induced Lethality
Authors: Moffat, Ivy D.
Advisor: Okey, Allan B.
Department: Pharmacology
Keywords: Dioxin
aryl hydrocarbon receptor
expression array
Issue Date: 28-Jul-2008
Abstract: Dioxins are environmental contaminants that raise concern because they are potent and persistent. The most potent dioxin congener, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), causes a wide variety of biochemical and toxic effects in laboratory animals and in humans. Major toxicities of TCDD are initiated by their binding to the AH receptor (AHR), a ligand-activated transcription factor that regulates expression of numerous genes. However, the specific genes whose dysregulation leads to major toxicities such as wasting, hepatotoxicity, and lethality are unknown. The objective of this thesis research was to identify the molecular mechanisms by which dioxins cause lethality. To this end, a powerful genetic rat model was utilized – the Han/Wistar (Kuopio) rat which is highly resistant to dioxin toxicity due to a major deletion in the AHR’s transactivation domain (TAD) leading to 3 potential AHR variant transcripts. We found that insertion-variant transcripts (IVs) are the dominant forms of AHR expressed in H/W rats, constitutively and after TCDD treatment. Gene expression array analysis revealed that the total number of TCDD-responsive genes in liver was significantly lower in H/W rats (that carry the TAD deletion) than in dioxin-sensitive rats (that carry wildtype AHR). Genes that are well-known to be AHR-regulated and dioxin-inducible  such as CYP1 transcripts  remained responsive to TCDD in H/W rats; thus the TAD deletion selectively interferes with expression of a subset of hepatic genes rather than abolishing global AHR-mediated responses. Genes that differed in response to TCDD between dioxin-sensitive rats and dioxin-resistant rats are integral parts of pathways known to be disrupted by dioxin treatment such as protein synthesis/degradation, fatty acid transport/metabolism, and apoptosis. These genes are worthy candidates for further mechanistic studies to test their role in major dioxin toxicities. Numerous differentially-regulated genes were downregulated; however, microRNAs, which downregulate mRNA levels in other systems, likely play no role in downregulation of mRNAs by dioxins in adult liver and are unlikely to be involved in hepatotoxicity. Findings in this research support the hypothesis that H/W rats are resistant to TCDD lethality because the TAD deletion prevents the AHR from dysregulating specific mRNA transcripts but not hepatic miRNAs.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/11119
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology - Doctoral theses

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