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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1984 Dec;81(23):7407-11.

Effects of in vivo-administered 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin on receptor binding of epidermal growth factor in the hepatic plasma membrane of rat, guinea pig, mouse, and hamster.


The effect of in vivo-administered 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) on epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor activity of the rat hepatic plasma membrane was studied. TCDD causes a significant reduction in EGF binding at an early stage of toxicity (day 2) and at very low doses (1 microgram/kg, single i.p., rat). This reduction appears to be due to a decline in the number of receptors. There is a good correlation between levels of decline in EGF binding and loss of body weight among TCDD-treated rats. The reduction in EGF binding occurs at a relatively low dose in the guinea pig (a very sensitive species) and at high doses in the hamster (a tolerant species). Among three mice strains, TCDD (115 micrograms/kg, single i.p.) caused 98% reduction in EGF binding in the sensitive strains (C57BL/6J and CBA/J) but only a 50% reduction in the tolerant strain (AKR/J). To relate the above biochemical changes to in vivo effects, TCDD was postnatally administered (through mother's milk) to mouse neonates. The most prominent toxic manifestations were early eye opening and incisor eruption, loss in body weight gain, and retardation of hair growth. All of these symptoms have been ascribed to EGF effects. TCDD was also found to stimulate phosphorylation of the EGF receptor in the rat hepatic plasma membrane. This phosphorylation effect was observed at day 1 and persisted until the end of the test (day 10). It has long been recognized that agents causing reduction in number of EGF receptors (e.g., phorbol esters) elicit in vivo cellular responses that are similar to those caused by exposure to excess doses of growth factors. Accordingly, a hypothesis has been proposed to ascribe some of the EGF-like effects of TCDD, such as fatty infiltration of the liver and hyperplastic proliferation of gastric epithelia and epidermal cells to its action on the EGF receptor.

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