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Short-term hepatic effects of depleted uranium on xenobiotic and bile acid metabolizing cytochrome P450 enzymes in the rat



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Y. Gueguen, M. Souidi, C. Baudelin, N. Dudoignon, S. Grison, I. Dublineau, C. Marquette, P. Voisin, P. Gourmelon, J. Aigueperse.

Arch Toxicol, 2005, 80, 4, 187-195


The toxicity of uranium has been demonstrated in different organs, including the kidneys, skeleton, central nervous system, and liver. However, few works have investigated the biological effects of uranium contamination on important metabolic function in the liver. In vivo studies were conducted to evaluate its effects on cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes involved in the metabolism of cholesterol and xenobiotics in the rat liver. The effects of depleted uranium (DU) contamination on Sprague–Dawley were measured at 1 and 3 days after exposure. Biochemical indicators characterizing liver and kidney functions were measured in the plasma. The DU affected bile acid CYP activity: 7a-hydroxy- cholesterol plasma level decreased by 52% at day 3 whereas microsomal CYP7A1 activity in the liver did not change significantly and mitochondrial CYP27A1 activity quintupled at day 1. Gene expression of the nuclear receptors related to lipid metabolism (FXR and LXR) also changed, while PPARa mRNA levels did not. The increased mRNA levels of the xenobiotic-metabo-lizing CYP3A enzyme at day 3 may be caused by feedback up-regulation due to the decreased CYP3A activity at day 1. CAR mRNA levels, which tripled on day 1, may be involved in this up-regulation, while mRNA levels of PXR did not change. These results indicate that high levels of depleted uranium, acting through modulation of the CYP enzymes and some of their nuclear receptors, affect the hepatic metabolism of bile acids and xenobiotics.