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Free Radic Biol Med. 2001 Aug 1;31(3):277-91.

Ca(2+)-calmodulin antagonist chlorpromazine and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase modulators 4-aminobenzamide and nicotinamide influence hepatic expression of BCL-XL and P53 and protect against acetaminophen-induced programmed and unprogrammed cell death in mice.

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Molecular Toxicology Program, Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Medicinal Chemistry, Long Island University, 75 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA.


Acetaminophen (AAP), the analgesic hepatotoxicant, is a powerful inducer of oxidative stress, DNA fragmentation, and apoptosis. The anti-apoptotic oncogene bcl-XL, and the pro-apoptotic oncogene p53 are two key regulators of cell cycle progression and/or apoptosis subsequent to DNA damage in vitro and in vivo. This study investigated the effect of AAP on the expression of these oncogenes and whether agents that modulate DNA fragmentation (chlorpromazine, CPZ) and DNA repair through poly(ADP-Ribose) polymerase (PARP) activity (4-AB: 4-aminobenzamide) can protect against AAP-induced hepatotoxicity by inhibiting oxidative stress, DNA fragmentation, and/or by altering the expression of bcl-XL and p53. In addition, the protective effect of supplemental nicotinamide (NICO), known to be depleted in cells with high PARP activity during DNA repair, is similarly evaluated. Male ICR mice (3 months old) were administered vehicle alone; nontoxic doses of 4-AB (400 mg/kg, ip), NICO (250 mg/kg, ip) or CPZ (25 mg/kg, ip), hepatotoxic dose of AAP alone (500 mg/kg, ip), or AAP plus one of the protective agents 1 h later. All animals were sacrificed 24 h following AAP administration. Serum alanine aminotransferase activity (ALT), hepatic histopathology and lipid peroxidation, DNA damage, and expression of bcl-XL and p53 (western blot analysis) were compared in various groups. All of the three agents significantly prevented AAP-induced liver injury, lipid peroxidation, DNA damage, and associated apoptotic and necrotic cell deaths, 4-AB being the most effective and NICO the least. Compared to control, there was a considerable decrease in bcl-XL expression, and an increase in p53 expression in AAP-exposed livers. The effect of AAP on bcl-XL was antagonized and that on p53 was synergized by the PARP-modulator 4-AB as well as NICO, whereas the endonuclease inhibitor CPZ was without effect on either bcl-XL or p53 expression. These results suggest that the hepatotoxic effect of AAP involves multiple mechanisms including oxidative stress, upregulation of endonuclease (or caspase-activated DNAse) and alteration of pro- and anti-apoptotic oncogenes. The observed antagonism of AAP-induced hepatocellular apoptosis and/or necrosis by modulators of multiple processes including DNA repair suggests the likelihood that a more effective therapy against AAP intoxication should involve a combination of antidotes.

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