Wahlang B, Hardesty JE, Head KZ, Jin J, Falkner KC, Prough RA, Cave MC, Beier JI. Hepatic injury caused by the environmental toxicant vinyl chloride is sex-dependent in mice. Toxicol Sci. 2019 Nov 27. pii: kfz236. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfz236. PubMed PMID: 31774537.
Vinyl chloride (VC), a common industrial chemical, has been associated with hemangiosarcoma and toxicant-associated steatohepatitis (TASH) in men working at rubber-production plants. Our group previously demonstrated that chronic VC inhalation at environmentally-relevant levels (<1€‰ppm) in male mice exacerbated hepatic injury caused by high fat diet (HFD) feeding. Because VC studies on TASH have only been performed in male models, the objective of this study is to examine VC inhalation in female mice in the context of TASH mechanisms. Male and female C57Bl/6 mice were fed either a low-fat diet (LFD) or HFD and exposed to VC or room air using an inhalation chamber, for 12 weeks (6€‰hours, 5 days/week); and plasma and liver samples were collected after euthanasia. Compared to males, females were less susceptible to HFD+VC-induced obesogenic effects demonstrated by lower body weight and fat composition. Histological analysis revealed that while VC exacerbated HFD-induced steatosis in males, this effect was absent in females. Additionally, females were more resistant to VC-induced hepatic inflammation while males had increased liver weights and higher hepatic TnfÎ± mRNA levels. Systemic markers of hepatic injury, namely alanine aminotransaminase and thrombin/antithrombin levels were increased by HFD+VC co-exposures only in males. Additionally, females did not show significant cell death as previously reported in males. Taken together, the results suggested that VC inhalation led to sex-dependent liver and metabolic toxicity. This study implicated the importance of assessing sex differences in environmental basic science and epidemiologic studies to better identify at-risk populations in both men and women.
For full text, please click here.