Effects of structure on binding to the 2,3,7,8-TCDD receptor protein and AHH induction: Halogenated biphenyls

S. Safe, S. Bandiera, T. Sawyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs) for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners have been determined by comparing the EC50 values for three in vitro test systems, namely, aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase (AHH) and ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) induction in rat hepatoma H-4-II-E cells and competitive binding avidities to the rat cytosolic receptor protein (using 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzo-o-dioxin as a radioligand). For several PCB congeners that are in vivo inducers of rat hepatic microsomal AHH, there was a linear correlation between the -log EC50 values for receptor and the -log EC50 values for AHH (or EROD) induction; moreover, a comparable linear relationship was observed between the -log EC50 values for AHH and EROD induction. Previous in vivo studies have shown that the most active PCB congeners 3,3',4,4'-tetra-, and 3,4,4',5-tetra-, 3,3',4,4',5'-penta-, and 3,3',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl, cause many of the biologic and toxic effects reported for the highly toxic halogenated aryl hydrocarbon, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). Moreover, the monoortho-substituted homologs of the four coplanar PCBs also elicit comparable in vivo biologic and toxic responses. It was evident from the QSARs for PCBs that there was an excellent correspondence between the in vivo and in vitro potencies of the individual PCB congeners. The effects of substituents on both receptor binding and AHH/EROD induction was determined for a series of 4'-substituted (X)-2,3,4,5-tetrachlorobiphenyls (where X + H, Cl, Br, I, OH, OCH3, NO2, COCH3, F, CF3, CH3, C2H5, i-C3H7, n-C4H9 and t-C4H9). Not unexpectedly, there was a linear relationship between the -log EC50 values for AHH and EROD induction, and these results confirm that both enzymatic oxidations are catalyzed by the same cytochrome P-450 isozyme(s). The effects of substituent structure on receptor binding for 12 substituents was subjected to multiple regression analysis which correlates the relative binding affinities of the compounds with the physical chemical characteristics of the substituents. The analysis gave the following equation: log (1/EC50) = 1.53σ + 1.47π + 1.09 HB + 4.08 for n = 12, s = 0.18, r = 0.978; where n is the number of substituents, s is the standard deviation, r is the correlation coefficient, and σ = electronegativity, π = hydrophobicity (log P) and HB = hydrogen bonding capacity for the substituent groups. The data suggest that the latter three parameters facilitate the interaction between the ligand and the cytosolic receptor protein. The effects of two lateral substituents on ligand-receptor interactions are not readily explained by the above relationship and may depend on other substituent physical chemical parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-33
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
VolumeVOL. 61
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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