Administration of the commercial polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) Aroclor 1254 to immature male Wistar rats resulted in increased levels (80-110%) of the 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) hepatic cytosolic receptor protein which remained elevated for 14 days. The effects of structure on the activity of individual PCB congeners to modulate hepatic cytosolic receptor levels were compared to the structure-activity relationships (SARs) which have been developed previously for PCBs as inducers of hepatic microsomal monooxygenases. 3,3′,4,4′-Tetra- and 3,3′,4,4′,5-pentachlorobiphenyl induced the cytochrome P-448-dependent monooxygenase, ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD), and resembled 3-methylcholanthrene in their mode of monooxygenase enzyme induction. These congeners also bound to the receptor protein; however, neither compound increased hepatic cytosolic receptor protein levels. Several PCB congeners which exhibit low binding affinities for the cytosolic receptor protein resembled phenobarbitone (PB) in their mode of monooxygenase enzyme induction and, like PB, elevated cytosolic receptor protein levels. Nevertheless, a comparison of the time course of monooxygenase enzyme induction and receptor protein elevation by 2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-hexachlorobiphenyl and PB illustrated significant differences in their activities. PB-mediated elevation of receptor levels was maximized 24 hr after the last dose, and 48 hr later the receptor levels decreased to control values. In contrast, 5 days after administration of a single dose of 2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-hexachlorobiphenyl (300 μmoles/ kg) the receptor levels were elevated significantly, and these increased levels (205-127% increases over control) persisted for 14 days. There was no correlation between increased levels of hepatic receptor protein and the induction of the cytochrome P-450-dependent monooxygenases, aldrin epoxidase or 4-dimethylaminoantipyrine N-demethylase. Two PCBs, 2,3,3′,4,4′,5- and 2,2′,3,4,4′,5-hexachloro-biphenyl, which resembled Aroclor 1254 in their mode of monooxygenase enzyme induction, also elevated hepatic receptor protein levels but were less active than the PB-type inducers. Thus, the SARs developed for PCBs which elevate cytosolic receptor levels demonstrate that the most active compounds exhibit the lowest affinity for the receptor protein and do not induce EROD. In contrast, the more toxic PCB congeners which are approximate isostereomers of 2,3,7,8-TCDD both induced EROD and bound with high affinity to the receptor protein but did not increase hepatic cytosolic receptor protein levels.
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