Mechanisms involved in the death of steatotic WIF-B9 hepatocytes co-exposed to benzo[a]pyrene and ethanol: a possible key role for xenobiotic metabolism and nitric oxide.
- Human Biomonitoring Research Unit
We previously demonstrated that co-exposing pre-steatotic hepatocytes to benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), a carcinogenic environmental pollutant, and ethanol, favored cell death. Here, the intracellular mechanisms underlying this toxicity were studied. Steatotic WIF-B9 hepatocytes, obtained by a 48h-supplementation with fatty acids, were then exposed to B[a]P/ethanol (10nM/5mM, respectively) for 5 days. Nitric oxide (NO) was demonstrated to be a pivotal player in the cell death caused by the co-exposure in steatotic hepatocytes. Indeed, by scavenging NO, CPTIO treatment of co-exposed steatotic cells prevented not only the increase in DNA damage and cell death, but also the decrease in the activity of CYP1, major cytochrome P450s of B[a]P metabolism. This would then lead to an elevation of B[a]P levels, thus possibly suggesting a long-lasting stimulation of the transcription factor AhR. Besides, as NO can react with superoxide anion to produce peroxynitrite, a highly oxidative compound, the use of FeTPPS to inhibit its formation indicated its participation in DNA damage and cell death, further highlighting the important role of NO. Finally, a possible key role for AhR was pointed out by using its antagonist, CH-223191. Indeed it prevented the elevation of ADH activity, known to participate to the ethanol production of ROS, notably superoxide anion. The transcription factor, NFkappaB, known to be activated by ROS, was shown to be involved in the increase in iNOS expression. Altogether, these data strongly suggested cooperative mechanistic interactions between B[a]P via AhR and ethanol via ROS production, to favor cell death in the context of prior steatosis.