Research Article: Compensatory changes in CYP expression in three different toxicology mouse models: CAR-null, Cyp3a-null, and Cyp2b9/10/13-null mice

Date Published: March 28, 2017

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Ramiya Kumar, Linda C. Mota, Elizabeth J. Litoff, John P. Rooney, W. Tyler Boswell, Elliott Courter, Charles M. Henderson, Juan P. Hernandez, J. Christopher Corton, David D. Moore, William S. Baldwin, Hervé Guillou.


Targeted mutant models are common in mechanistic toxicology experiments investigating the absorption, metabolism, distribution, or elimination (ADME) of chemicals from individuals. Key models include those for xenosensing transcription factors and cytochrome P450s (CYP). Here we investigated changes in transcript levels, protein expression, and steroid hydroxylation of several xenobiotic detoxifying CYPs in constitutive androstane receptor (CAR)-null and two CYP-null mouse models that have subfamily members regulated by CAR; the Cyp3a-null and a newly described Cyp2b9/10/13-null mouse model. Compensatory changes in CYP expression that occur in these models may also occur in polymorphic humans, or may complicate interpretation of ADME studies performed using these models. The loss of CAR causes significant changes in several CYPs probably due to loss of CAR-mediated constitutive regulation of these CYPs. Expression and activity changes include significant repression of Cyp2a and Cyp2b members with corresponding drops in 6α- and 16β-testosterone hydroxylase activity. Further, the ratio of 6α-/15α-hydroxylase activity, a biomarker of sexual dimorphism in the liver, indicates masculinization of female CAR-null mice, suggesting a role for CAR in the regulation of sexually dimorphic liver CYP profiles. The loss of Cyp3a causes fewer changes than CAR. Nevertheless, there are compensatory changes including gender-specific increases in Cyp2a and Cyp2b. Cyp2a and Cyp2b were down-regulated in CAR-null mice, suggesting activation of CAR and potentially PXR following loss of the Cyp3a members. However, the loss of Cyp2b causes few changes in hepatic CYP transcript levels and almost no significant compensatory changes in protein expression or activity with the possible exception of 6α-hydroxylase activity. This lack of a compensatory response in the Cyp2b9/10/13-null mice is probably due to low CYP2B hepatic expression, especially in male mice. Overall, compensatory and regulatory CYP changes followed the order CAR-null > Cyp3a-null > Cyp2b-null mice.

Partial Text

Nullizygous mouse models have become commonplace in toxicology research [1, 2], especially the use of xenobiotic receptor and Cyp subfamily-null mice [3–6]. These models are widely used in the study of the metabolism and distribution of pharmaceuticals and hazardous environmental chemicals [4–6]. To properly interpret the data observed, especially within absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) studies, it is critical to have an understanding of the compensatory changes in cytochrome P450 (CYP) expression that occurs in these mouse models. The purpose of this study is in part to evaluate changes that occur in constitutive androstane receptor (CAR)-null, Cyp3a-null, and the newly developed Cyp2b9/10/13-null mouse models, estimate the impact that compensatory changes may have on xenobiotic metabolism, and interpret the basis for these changes.

CAR-null mice show greater changes in CYP expression and activity relative to their WT counterparts than Cyp3a-null and Cyp2b-null mice. This is probably because CAR directly regulates the expression of several CYPs either constitutively or through activation by endogenous and exogenous substrates. Because CAR regulates constitutive CYP expression the use of CAR-null mice alone could cause incorrect interpretations of chemical metabolism. In addition, CAR appears to regulate sexual dimorphism of CYP expression within the liver as lack of CAR caused masculinization. Given that CAR activation is feminizing [16, 43, 67], CAR has greater transcriptional activity in females than males [50], CAR regulates a number of female predominant CYPs [16], and CAR is inhibited by androgens [11, 53], it may not be all that surprising that the loss of CAR causes masculinization of the liver (Fig 3). Overall, CAR-null mice may show significant changes in CYP-mediated drug metabolism following exposure because of the significant changes in CYP expression.




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