Differences in Gene Expression Profiles Reflecting Differences in Drug Sensitivity to Acetaminophen in Normal and Transformed Hepatic Cell Lines In vitro

  • Jeong, Youn-Kyoung (Division of Genetic Toxicology, National Institute of Toxicological Research, Korea Food and Drug Administration) ;
  • Kang, Jin-Seok (Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, Namseoul University) ;
  • Kim, Joo-Whan (Division of Genetic Toxicology, National Institute of Toxicological Research, Korea Food and Drug Administration) ;
  • Suh, Soo-Kyung (Division of Genetic Toxicology, National Institute of Toxicological Research, Korea Food and Drug Administration) ;
  • Lee, Michael (Department of Biology, College of Natural Sciences, Incheon University) ;
  • Kim, Seung-Hee (Division of Genetic Toxicology, National Institute of Toxicological Research, Korea Food and Drug Administration) ;
  • Lee, Sang-Kook (Department of Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, Ewha Womans University) ;
  • Park, Sue-Nie (Division of Genetic Toxicology, National Institute of Toxicological Research, Korea Food and Drug Administration)
  • Published : 2009.03.31


Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose is known to cause severe hepatotoxicity mainly through the depletion of glutathione. In this study, we compared the cytotoxic effects of APAP on both a normal murine hepatic cell line, BNL CL.2, and its SV40-transformed cell line, BNL SV A.8. Gene expression profiles for APAP-treated cells were also obtained using microarray and analyzed to identify differences in genes or profiles that may explain the differences of susceptibility to APAP in these cell lines. These two cell lines exhibited different susceptibilities to APAP (0-$5,000{\mu}M$); BNL SV A.8 cells were more susceptible to APAP treatment compared to BNL CL.2 cells. A dose of $625{\mu}M$ APAP, which produced significant differences in cytotoxicity in these cell lines, was tested. Microarray analysis was performed to identify significant differentially expressed genes (DEGs) irrespective of APAP treatment. Genes up-regulated in BNL SV A.8 cells were associated with immune response, defense response, and apoptosis, while down-regulated genes were associated with catalytic activity, cell adhesion and the cytochrome P450 family. Consistent with the cytotoxicity data, no significant DEGs were found in BNL CL.2 cells after treatment with $625{\mu}M$ APAP, while cell cycle arrest and apoptosis-related genes were up-regulated in BNL SV A.8 cells. Based on the significant fold-changes in their expression, a genes were selected and their expressions were confirmed by quantitative real-time RT-PCR; there was a high correlation between them. These results suggest that gene expression profiles may provide a useful method for evaluating drug sensitivity of cell lines and eliciting the underlying molecular mechanism. We further compared the genes identified from our current in vitro studies to the genes previously identified in our lab as regulated by APAP in both C57BL/6 and ICR mice in vivo. We found that a few genes are regulated in a similar pattern both in vivo and in vitro. These genes might be useful to develop as in vitro biomarkers for predicting in vivo hepatotoxicity. Based on our results, we suggest that gene expression profiles may provide useful information for elucidating the underlying molecular mechanisms of drug susceptibility and for evaluating drug sensitivity in vitro for extrapolation to in vivo.



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