Title page for ETD etd-05222012-133711

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Schroeder, Ilka Elizma
Email schroeder.ilka@gmail.com
URN etd-05222012-133711
Document Title A mechanistic study of organochlorine hepatotoxicity
Degree MSc
Department Pharmacology
Advisor Name Title
Mr J J van Tonder Co-Supervisor
Prof V Steenkamp Supervisor
  • in vitro
  • N-acetyl cysteine
  • CHQ
  • 2-hydroquinone
  • TCBQ
  • 4-benzoquinone
  • tetrachloro-1
  • Syzygium cordatum
  • organochlorine
  • PCP
  • pentachlorophenol
  • Burkea africana
  • hepatotoxicity
Date 2012-04-13
Availability unrestricted
Pentachlorophenol, (PCP) is an organochlorine compound which was first developed in the 1930ís. PCP is said to be the most toxic of the chlorophenols and is classified as a hazardous substance and a probable human carcinogen. PCP has proven to be cytotoxic to a number of cell lines translating to its effect on various organs.

The aim of the study was to assess organochlorine-induced hepatotoxicity in a mechanistic manner using an in-house developed procedure. Also, the possible hepatoprotective effect of methanolic extracts of the bark of two medicinal plants, Burkea africana (BA) and Syzygium cordatum (SC), as well as the known hepatoprotective agent, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), were investigated.

In addition to PCP, two of its major metabolites, tetrachloro-1,2-hydroquinone (TCHQ) and tetrachloro-1,4-benzoquinone (TCBQ) were also evaluated. A hepatocarcinoma cell line (HepG2) was used to investigate the effect of these compounds on different parameters of cellular function. Cytotoxicity was assessed using the neutral red uptake assay. Cytochrome P4501A1 (CYP1A1) activity was determined using ethoxy-resorufin-O-deethylation as surrogate. Generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was investigated by measuring dichlorofluorescein diacetate cleavage. Effects on mitochondrial membrane potential were determined using JC-1 staining, whilst necrosis was investigated by assessing plasma membrane integrity using propidium iodide (PI)staining. The degree of apoptotic death was determined by quantifying caspase-3 activity. Assays were repeated with an additional 1 h pre-treatment of the cells with either NAC, SC or BA in order to investigate whether these compounds were able to protect against the toxicity induced by PCP and its metabolites.

The IC50 values of PCP, TCHQ and TCBQ were 68.0, 144.0 and 129.4 μM, respectively. All three test compounds induced CYP1A1 activity with PCP being the most potent. TCBQ produced extensive ROS generation. TCHQ also induced ROS generation, whilst PCP appeared to have no significant effect on ROS generation. All test compounds caused mitochondrial depolarization. None of the test compounds caused an increase in necrotic cell death. PCP, TCHQ and TCBQ had negligible effects on apoptosis.

Both SC and BA alleviated the toxic effects observed in cells treated with PCP. Minor increases in viability occurred in cells pre-treated with plant extracts prior to exposure to both metabolites. NAC, as well as both plant extracts, greatly reduced CYP 1A1 activity induced by PCP. NAC, SC and BA exacerbated CYP1A1 induction in cells exposed to concentrations of TCBQ and TCHQ that initially produced little or no effect on CYP1A1 activity. Contrarily, decreased CYP1A1 activity was observed in cells exposed to concentrations of TCBQ and TCHQ where extensive induction of CYP1A1 occurred. NAC, as well as both plant extracts, suppressed ROS generation in cells exposed to all test compounds. In cells exposed to PCP and TCBQ more extensive mitochondrial depolarization was seen when pre-treated with NAC and plant extracts than when exposed to the compounds alone. Negligible effects were seen in pre-treated cells exposed to TCHQ. BA and SC caused increases in necrotic death in cells exposed to the test compounds. NAC, BA and SC had negligible effects on the changes in caspase-3 activity induced by the test compounds.

From the results it is proposed that PCP induces its own metabolism by increasing CYP1A1 activity. It also causes mitochondrial insult which could lead to the opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore and subsequent release of cytochrome C, activation of caspases and eventually apoptotic cell death. With regard to TCHQ and TCBQ, results suggest that extensive ROS generation caused damage to various cellular macromolecules and that this could be the main cause of their toxicity.

NAC, SC and BA appeared to alleviate toxicity in certain instances. Further investigation is required in order to assess them as possible hepatoprotective agents.

Copyright © 2011, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria

Please cite as follows:

Schroeder, IE 2011, A mechanistic study of organochlorine hepatotoxicity, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05222012-133711 / >


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