Cytochromes P450 (CYP) in the Poeciliopsis lucida hepatocellular carcinoma cell line (PLHC-1): dose- and time-dependent glucocorticoid potentiation of CYP1A induction without induction of CYP3A. Academic Article uri icon


  • Glucocorticoids are being found to influence expression of cytochrome P450 (CYP) genes in multiple subfamilies in mammals (J.S. Sidhu, and C.J. Omiecinski (1995) Pharmacogenetics 5, 24--36). In the present study we investigated CYP1A and CYP3A expression in the fish Poeciliopsis lucida hepatocellular carcinoma cell line (PLHC-1) after coadministration of CYP1A and CYP3A inducers, including glucocorticoids. A putative CYP3A protein is expressed in PLHC-1 cells but its content was not altered by exposure of cultures to the prototypical mammalian CYP3A inducers dexamethasone (DEX), pregnenolone-16 alpha-carbonitrile (PCN), or rifampicin (RIF). However, when coadministered with 3,3', 4,4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), DEX but not PCN or RIF caused increases in the degree of CYP1A induction by these aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) agonists. This increase was seen both in CYP1A protein content and rates of ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity. DEX alone caused no induction of CYP1A, indicating that the enhancement of CYP1A induction caused by DEX + AHR agonists was not an additive effect but rather a potentiation. The dose of DEX required for maximal potentiation was three orders of magnitude greater at 48 h than the dose required at 24 h. Moreover, the degree of potentiation of CYP1A induction was much greater at the lower doses than at the highest doses of TCDD. There was up to 20-fold potentiation of EROD induction in cultures exposed to 0.1 nM TCDD. Two other glucocorticoid receptor (GR) agonists, cortisol and prednisone, also produced a strong potentiation of CYP1A induction, but other mammalian CYP3A inducers that are not GR agonists, such as the anti-glucocorticoid PCN, the anti-mineralocorticoid spironolactone, or the macrolide antibiotics RIF and troleandomycin, did not potentiate the CYP1A induction in PLHC-1 cells. Addition of the mammalian GR antagonists PCN or RU 38486 reduced the DEX-mediated potentiation of CYP1A induction, whereas spironolactone had no effect on the potentiation. RU 38486 also potentiated the induction of EROD activity by the TCDD, which suggests that RU 38486 acts as a partial GR agonist in PLHC-1 cells. These results suggest that potentiation of CYP1A induction in this nonmammalian cell line proceeds by a classical GR-mediated pathway, independently of the expression of CYP3A. However, the complex interaction between doses of both GR and AHR agonists and duration of exposure, suggests that additional processes influence this potentiation. The unusually strong potentiation at lower doses of TCDD may make PLHC-1 cells particularly suitable in exploring further the consequences of this potentiation.

publication date

  • May 1, 1996