A chimeric aryl hydrocarbon receptor knockout mouse model indicates that aryl hydrocarbon receptor activation in hematopoietic cells contributes to the hepatic lesions induced by 2,3,7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin

T S Thurmond, A E Silverstone, R B Baggs, F W Quimby, J E Staples, T A Gasiewicz
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 1999 July 1, 158 (1): 33-40
Pathologic changes associated with 2,3,7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) exposure have been reported in the livers of a wide range of species. While these changes have been extensively described, the mechanisms of toxic interaction(s) that produce these lesions remain unclear. Using an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr) knockout male mouse chimeric model, we investigated whether the presence of this receptor in hematopoietic and/or parenchymal cells affects TCDD-induced hepatotoxicity. Bone marrow chimeras were produced by hematopoietic reconstitution of irradiated mice. Specifically, chimeras were generated with aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) positive hematopoietic and parenchymal cells (Ahr+/+ animal bone marrow cells into irradiated Ahr+/+ animals), AHR positive hematopoietic and negative parenchymal cells (Ahr+/+ into Ahr-/-), AHR negative hematopoietic and positive parenchymal cells (Ahr-/- into Ahr+/+), and AHR negative hematopoietic and parenchymal cells (Ahr-/- into Ahr-/-). Male wild-type (Ahr+/+) and knockout (Ahr-/-) animals were used as nonchimeric controls. Following TCDD treatment (30 microg/kg body wt), liver sections from mice in each control and chimeric group were histologically evaluated for necrotic and inflammatory changes. TCDD treatment produced moderate inflammation in Ahr+/+ controls and Ahr+/+ into Ahr+/+ chimeras. This response was mild in TCDD-treated Ahr-/-, Ahr-/- into Ahr-/-, Ahr+/+ into Ahr-/-, and Ahr-/- into Ahr+/+ animals and was not different from the corresponding vehicle-treated groups. Moderate necrosis was observed in all TCDD-treated controls or chimeras with AHR-positive parenchyma. No or mild necrosis was observed in TCDD- and vehicle-treated animals containing AHR-negative parenchyma. These data indicate that the presence of AHR in hepatic parenchyma alone is sufficient for TCDD induction of hepatic necrosis, and its presence in hematopoietic cells is necessary for the inflammatory response to TCDD-induced hepatic lesions.

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