Tissue-Selective Activation and Toxicity of Substituted Dichlorobenzenes Studies on the Mechanism of Cell Death in the Olfactory Mucosa

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The nasal passages are constantly exposed to both air- and bloodborne foreign compounds. In particular, the olfactory mucosa is demonstrated to be susceptible to a variety of drugs and chemicals. In this thesis, mechanisms involved in tissue-selective toxicity in the olfactory mucosa of rodents have been investigated using the olfactory toxicant 2,6-dichlorophenyl methylsulphone (2,6-diClPh-MeSO2) as a model compound. Comparative studies were performed with the non-toxic 2,5-dichlorophenyl methylsulphone (2,5-diClPh-MeSO2) and the reasons for the strikingly different toxicity were investigated. A strong bioactivation and protein adduction of 2,6-diClPh-MeSO2 in olfactory microsomes and S9-fractions of rodents was demonstrated. In contrast, no significant metabolic activation of 2,5-diClPh-MeSO2 was observed and the bioactivation in the liver for both chlorinated isomers was negligible. In vitro studies with recombinant yeast cell microsomes expressing mouse cytochrome P450 2A5 (CYP2A5) demonstrated a metabolic activation of 2,6-diClPh-MeSO2. The 2,6-diClPh-MeSO2-induced lesions and CYP2A5 expression preferentially occurred in Bowman’s glands and sustentacular cells of the olfactory mucosa. A significant depletion of glutathione (GSH) in the olfactory mucosa was demonstrated in vivo, while no changes were observed in the liver. There was a rapid induction of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-specific chaperone Grp78, activation of the ER-specific caspase-12 and the downstream caspase-3 in the Bowman’s glands. Electron microscopy revealed swelling of ER and mitochondria and a lost integrity of the Bowman’s glands. Based on these results, the proposed mechanism for 2,6-diClPh-MeSO2-induced toxicity in the olfactory mucosa is bioactivation by CYP2A5 into a reactive intermediate causing protein adduction and GSH-depletion. This is initiating a sequence of downstream events of ER-stress, changes in ion homeostasis, ultrastructural organelle disruption and apoptotic signalling. In spite of the initial apoptotic signals, the terminal phase of apoptosis seemed to be blocked and necrotic features occurred. The predominant expression of CYP2A5 in the olfactory mucosa is proposed to play a key role for the tissue- and cell-specific toxicity induced by 2,6-diClPh-MeSO2.