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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2006 Sep 15;215(3):260-73. Epub 2006 Apr 27.

Gene expression profiling in liver and testis of rats to characterize the toxicity of triazole fungicides.

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  • 1Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, USA.


Four triazole fungicides were studied using toxicogenomic techniques to identify potential mechanisms of action. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were dosed for 14 days by gavage with fluconazole, myclobutanil, propiconazole, or triadimefon. Following exposure, serum was collected for hormone measurements, and liver and testes were collected for histology, enzyme biochemistry, or gene expression profiling. Body and testis weights were unaffected, but liver weights were significantly increased by all four triazoles, and hepatocytes exhibited centrilobular hypertrophy. Myclobutanil exposure increased serum testosterone and decreased sperm motility, but no treatment-related testis histopathology was observed. We hypothesized that gene expression profiles would identify potential mechanisms of toxicity and used DNA microarrays and quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) to generate profiles. Triazole fungicides are designed to inhibit fungal cytochrome P450 (CYP) 51 enzyme but can also modulate the expression and function of mammalian CYP genes and enzymes. Triazoles affected the expression of numerous CYP genes in rat liver and testis, including multiple Cyp2c and Cyp3a isoforms as well as other xenobiotic metabolizing enzyme (XME) and transporter genes. For some genes, such as Ces2 and Udpgtr2, all four triazoles had similar effects on expression, suggesting possible common mechanisms of action. Many of these CYP, XME and transporter genes are regulated by xeno-sensing nuclear receptors, and hierarchical clustering of CAR/PXR-regulated genes demonstrated the similarities of toxicogenomic responses in liver between all four triazoles and in testis between myclobutanil and triadimefon. Triazoles also affected expression of multiple genes involved in steroid hormone metabolism in the two tissues. Thus, gene expression profiles helped identify possible toxicological mechanisms of the triazole fungicides.

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