An increase in RNA polymerase B activity in hepatic cell nuclei was observed after a single intravenous injection of 1 μg/rat of TCDD. The enzyme activity was about 70% above the control value at 1 hr after injection and then declined rapidly. A secondary increase was evident at 24 hr. Prior to the secondary increase in RNA polymerase B activity, there was an increase in RNA polymerase A activity which was about 125% above the control value. The initial increase in RNA polymerase B activity was sensitive to both α-amanitin and actinomycin D injected 30 min before TCDD administration. In the thymus, an increase in RNA polymerase B activity was observed 4 hr after injection (25% above control value) but thereafter it declined and at 24 hr it was about 30% below the control value. RNA polymerase A activity was inhibited as early as 1 hr after injection but had returned to the control value at 4hr and then paralleled RNA polymerase B activity. Thus, TCDD stimulated RNA synthesis in the rat liver but the drug inhibited RNA synthesis in the rat thymus. Since these effects were detected as early as 1 hr after TCDD administration it is proposed that TCDD action requires transcriptional response and that this response may represent a primary site of TCDD action in the cell. The cellular entities or mechanisms which TCDD uses to alter transcription in the cell nucleus remain to be determined.
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