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Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Flavin-containing monooxygenase-3 (FMO3) catalyzes metabolic reactions similar to cytochrome P450 monooxygenase, however, most metabolites of FMO3 are considered non-toxic. Recent findings in our laboratory demonstrated Fmo3 gene induction following toxic acetaminophen (APAP) treatment in mice. The goal of this study was to evaluate Fmo3 gene expression in other diverse mouse models of hepatic oxidative stress and injury. Fmo3 gene regulation by Nrf2 was also investigated using Nrf2 knockout (Nrf2 KO) mice. In our studies, male C57BL/6J mice were treated with toxic doses of hepatotoxicants or underwent bile duct ligation (BDL, 10 days). Hepatotoxicants included APAP (400 mg/kg, 24–72 h), alpha-naphthyl isothiocyanate (ANIT; 50 mg/kg, 2–48 h), carbon tetrachloride (CCl4; 10 or 30 μL/kg, 24 and 48 h) and allyl alcohol (AlOH; 30 or 60 mg/kg, 6 and 24 h). Because oxidative stress activates nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2), additional studies investigated Fmo3 gene regulation by Nrf2 using Nrf2 knockout (Nrf2 KO) mice. At appropriate time-points, blood and liver samples were collected for assessment of plasma alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity, plasma and hepatic bile acid levels, as well as liver Fmo3 mRNA and protein expression. Fmo3 mRNA expression increased significantly by 43-fold at 12 h after ANIT treatment, and this increase translates to a 4-fold change in protein levels. BDL also increased Fmo3 mRNA expression by 1899-fold, but with no change in protein levels. Treatment of mice with CCl4 decreased liver Fmo3 gene expression, while no change in expression was detected with AlOH treatment. Nrf2 KO mice are more susceptible to APAP (400 mg/kg, 72 h) treatment compared to their wild-type (WT) counterparts, which is evidenced by greater plasma ALT activity. The Fmo3 mRNA and protein expression increased in Nrf2 KO mice after APAP treatment. Collectively, not all hepatotoxicants that produce oxidative stress alter Fmo3 gene expression. Along with APAP, toxic ANIT treatment in mice markedly increased Fmo3 gene expression. While BDL increased the Fmo3 mRNA expression, the protein level did not change. The discrepancy with Fmo3 induction in cholestatic models, ANIT and BDL, is not entirely clear. Results from Nrf2 KO mice with APAP suggest that the transcriptional regulation of Fmo3 during liver injury may not involve Nrf2.

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