Preclinical safety evaluation of human gene therapy products.
Human gene therapy products include naked DNA and viral as well as non-viral vectors containing nucleic acids. There is limited experience on the preclinical toxicity studies necessary for the safety evaluation of these products, which have been outlined in several recently released guidelines. Requirements for the preclinical safety evaluation of human gene therapy products are both specific and non-specific. All key preclinical studies should be performed in compliance with Good Laboratory Practices. Non-specific requirements are in fact common to all pharmaceutical products. Critical specific issues to be addressed are: the safety evaluation of the vector and the toxicity of the expressed protein(s), which are the two components of gene therapy products, the quality of the test article, the selection of animal species, and the verification that the administration method successfully transports the gene of interest, with the vector, to the target site(s). The treatment schedule should mimic the intended human therapeutic design. The host's immune response against the gene therapy product has to be evaluated to detect possible adverse effects and immune neutralization by antibodies. The biodistribution of the gene of interest is also essential and can be evaluated by molecular biology techniques, such as PCR. Specific confinement is required for the safe manipulation of viral vectors. (+info)
The contribution of acute toxicity in animals to occupational exposure limits of chemical substances.
The correlations of lethal doses of various industrial chemicals for rats and mice with occupational exposure limit values were investigated. 50% lethal dose (LD50) values obtained by oral (p.o.) and intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection and 50% lethal concentration (LC50) values obtained by inhalation exposure were collected from Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS). Threshold Limit Value (Time-Weighted Average) (TLVs-TWA) and Threshold Limit Value (Short Term Exposure Limit) (TLVs-STEL) recommended by American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) were used as exposure limits. TLVs-TWA or TLVs-STEL and LD50 or LC50 values obtained for the rats were plotted on logarithmic scales on the ordinate and abscissa, respectively. High correlations were obtained between these parameters. The order of correlations was: TLVs-STEL vs. LC50s > TLVs-TWA vs. LC50s > TLVs-TWA vs. LD50s i.p. > TLVs vs. LD50s p.o. The same calculations for the relationship between TLVs and lethal doses in mice were also performed. The order of the three types of correlations was same as that of the rats; however, correlation coefficients for TLVs-STEL vs. LC50s and for TLVs-TWA vs. LC50s obtained in mice were smaller than those in rats. TLVs-TWA are, therefore, well correlated with LC50 values rather than LD50 values, particularly with those in rats. High correlations between TLVs-STEL vs. LC50s were also obtained, as had been expected before calculation. The equation: TLV-TWA = 10b x (LC50)a can be obtained from these plottings, where the values a and b are taken from each linear regression line. TLV-TWA for each chemical can be calculated by using LC50 and the equation. The upper and lower 95% confidence limits for calculated TLV-TWA were TLV-TWA (calculated from LC50) x 22.9 and TLV-TWA (calculated)/22.9, respectively, where LC50 for rats expressed in ppm x hr was used. (+info)
The marginalization of hormesis.
Despite the substantial development and publication of highly reproducible toxicological data, the concept of hormetic dose-response relationships was never integrated into the mainstream of toxicological thought. Review of the historical foundations of the interpretation of the bioassay and assessment of competitive theories of dose-response relationships lead to the conclusion that multiple factors contributed to the marginalization of hormesis during the middle and subsequent decades of the 20th Century. These factors include the following: (a) the close association of hormesis with homeopathy, which led to the hostility of modern medicine toward homeopathy, thereby creating a guilt-by-association framework, and the carryover influence of that hostility toward hormesis in the judgements of medically based pharmacologists/toxicologists; (b) the emphasis of high-dose effects linked with a lack of appreciation of the significance of the implications of low-dose stimulatory effects; (c) the lack of an evolution-based mechanism(s) to account for hormetic effects; and (d) lack of appropriate scientific advocates to counter aggressive and intellectually powerful critics of the hormetic perspective. (+info)
Chemical hormesis: its historical foundations as a biological hypothesis.
Despite the long history of hormesis-related experimental research, no systematic effort to describe its early history has been undertaken. The present paper attempts to reconstruct and assess the early history of such research and to evaluate how advances in related scientific fields affected the course of hormesis-related research. The purpose of this paper is not only to satisfy this gap in current knowledge but also to provide a foundation for the assessment of how the concept of hormetic dose-response relationships may have affected the nature of the bioassay, especially with respect to hazard assessment practices within a modern risk assessment framework. (+info)
Serum vitellogenin levels and reproductive impairment of male Japanese Medaka (Oryzias latipes) exposed to 4-tert-octylphenol.
The induction of synthesis of the "female" yolk precursor protein vitellogenin (VTG) in male fish by estrogenic chemicals in the environment has been demonstrated in many recent reports. However, little is known about the organismal and biological significance of this phenomenon. To examine the relationship between VTG production in male fish and reproductive impairment, adult male medaka were exposed to 4-tert-octylphenol (OP), a known environmental estrogen, in concentrations ranging from 20 to 230 ppb for 21 days, under flow-through conditions. Following exposure, male fish were mated, in the absence of OP, with unexposed females. Breeding groups composed of exposed males and control females produced about 50% fewer eggs than control groups. VTG levels in serum of male fish increased with increasing OP exposure concentration and decreased after OP exposure was discontinued. Nevertheless, significant correlations (p<0.01) were observed between VTG levels in exposed male fish and 1) OP exposure concentrations, 2) percent of fertilized eggs, and 3) survival of embryos. OP-induced VTG synthesis and reproductive impairment appear to be closely linked phenomena. Histological examination indicated spermatogenesis in OP-exposed fish was inhibited, and some exposed fish had oocytes in their testes. Finally, OP caused a significant increase in the number of abnormally developing embryos, suggesting that OP may be genotoxic as well as estrogenic. (+info)
Demonstration of the pathogenic effect of point mutated keratin 9 in vivo.
A wild type keratin 9 (K9) cDNA and a point mutated keratin 9 cDNA were injected subcutaneously into mouse skin. The hemagglutinin tag staining of the wild type K9 cDNA injected specimens mainly showed a homogeneous pattern, whereas the point mutated K9 cDNA injected specimens mainly showed a granular pattern in the suprabasal cells. Double staining of K9 and the endogenous keratin revealed the incorporation of de novo synthesized K9 into the keratin network. These results demonstrate that (1) a naked DNA transfection into mouse skin can detect the pathogenic changes of point mutated keratin in vivo and (2) the keratin 9 mutation disrupts the keratin network formation in the suprabasal cells in vivo. (+info)
Changes in thyroid gland morphology after acute acrylamide exposure.
High exposure to the acrylamide monomer has been associated with neuropathy and neurotoxic effects. Chronic lower exposure causes endocrine disruption associated with thyroid, testicular, and mammary tumors. To investigate mechanisms of endocrine disruption, short-term, low-level oral dosing studies were conducted. Weanling female Fischer 344 rats were acclimatized for two weeks before dosing. Controls were given distilled water by gavage and rats in other groups were given acrylamide at doses of 2 mg/kg/day and 15 mg/kg/day for 2 or 7 days by gavage. Twenty-four h after the last dose, the rats were killed by decapitation. Trunk blood was collected for hormone analyses and tissues for histopathological examination. There were no toxicity-related deaths, no clinical signs of toxicity, and no significant difference in the mean body weight of animal groups. Histopathological examination of select tissues showed no lesions of pathologic significance. Plasma thyroxine (T4), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), prolactin (PRL), and pituitary TSH and PRL analyses did not reveal significant changes between control vs. treated rats. In the 7-day study, however, there was a slight dose-dependent increase in plasma T4 and a slight dose-dependent decrease in plasma TSH. Thyroid gland morphometry showed a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in the colloid area and a significant increase (p < 0.05) in the follicular cell height of treated rats as compared to controls. The follicular area shrinkage was similar in both studies. These results show a very early endocrine response to very low levels of toxic insult and opens other venues to further investigate the mechanisms of endocrine disruption by acrylamide. (+info)
Effects of acute exposure to PCBs 126 and 153 on anterior pituitary and thyroid hormones and FSH isoforms in adult Sprague Dawley male rats.
3,3'4,4',5-Pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 126) and 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB 153) were administered to adult male rats in order to identify sensitive indicators of endocrine disruption. We tested the hypothesis that PCB exposure modifies follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) pituitary isoforms, as well as the pituitary and serum concentrations of FSH, luteinizing hormone (LH), growth hormone, prolactin, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Effects on serum levels of thyroxine (T4) and testosterone (T), and prostate androgen receptor content, were also tested. In one experiment, 5 groups of 8 rats each received two i.p. injections, one day apart, of either corn oil or 6.25, 25, 100 or 400 micrograms/kg/day of PCB 126. Decreases (p < 0.05) in the serum concentrations of T4 and LH started at doses of 25 and 100 micrograms/kg/day, respectively. Serum FSH concentrations were reduced (p = 0.07) in the highest dose group. In contrast, pituitary content of FSH and LH increased with PCB-126 doses (p = 0.004, p = 0.002, respectively). Despite changes in reproductive hormones, PCB-126 had no effect on the androgen receptor content of the prostate. The effect of PCB-126 was tested in the hemicastrated rat, and suggested adverse effects on testosterone secretion. To test the effects of PCB exposure on FSH pituitary isoforms, 4 groups of 10 male rats received two i.p. injections, one day apart, of either corn oil, PCB 153 (25 mg/kg/day), estradiol-17 beta (E2; 20 micrograms/kg/day), or PCB 126 (0.1 mg/kg/day). Serum T4 levels were higher (p < 0.01) in the E2 and PCB 153 groups, and slightly reduced in the PCB 126-treated groups, compared to controls. Simultaneous purification of pituitary FSH and TSH isoforms was performed by HPLC, using two chromatofocusing columns in series. In contrast to TSH isoforms, the distribution of FSH isoforms over the chromatography run differed slightly between treatment groups; the amounts of FSH isoform eluted during the pH gradient were lower (p < 0.05) in E2 and PCB 153-treated rats than in control or PCB 126-treated rats. The similarity between the effects of E2 and PCB 153 on T4 and FSH isoforms supports the contention that PCB 153 possesses estrogenic properties. Serum LH and T4 concentrations were the most sensitive and practical endocrine indicators of PCBs 126 and 153 exposure in male rats. (+info)