Complex Interactions between Dioxin-Like and Non-Dioxin-Like Compounds for in Vitro Cellular Responses: Implications for the Identification of Dioxin Exposure Biomarkers

Anthony A. O'Kane*, Chris T. Elliott, Mark H. Mooney

*Corresponding author for this work

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Despite considerable advances in reducing the production of dioxin-like toxicants in recent years, contamination of the food chain still occasionally occurs resulting in huge losses to the agri-food sector and risk to human health through exposure. Dioxin-like toxicity is exhibited by a range of stable and bioaccumulative compounds including polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs), produced by certain types of combustion, and man-made coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as found in electrical transformer oils. While dioxinergic compounds act by a common mode of action making exposure detection biomarker based techniques a potentially useful tool, the influence of co-contaminating toxicants on such approaches needs to be considered. To assess the impact of possible interactions, the biological responses of H4IIE cells to challenge by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) in combination with PCB-52 and benzo-a-pyrene (BaP) were evaluated by a number of methods in this study. Ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) induction in TCDD exposed cells was suppressed by increasing concentrations of PCB-52, PCB-153, or BaP up to 10 mu M. BaP levels below 1 mu M suppressed TCDD stimulated EROD induction, but at higher concentrations, EROD induction was greater than the maximum observed when cells were treated with TCDD alone. A similar biphasic interaction of BaP with TCDD co-exposure was noted in the AlamarBlue assay and to a lesser extent with PCB-52. Surface enhanced laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF) profiling of peptidomic responses of cells exposed to compound combinations was compared. Cells co-exposed to TCDD in the presence of BaP or PCB-52 produced the most differentiated spectra with a substantial number of non-additive interactions observed. These findings suggest that interactions between dioxin and other toxicants create novel, additive, and non-additive effects, which may be more indicative of the types of responses seen in exposed animals than those of single exposures to the individual compounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-187
Number of pages10
JournalChemical research in toxicology
Issue number2
Early online date07 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • 2 LOTS
  • FEED
  • AROCLOR-1254

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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