Correlation between thyroid hormone status and hepatic hyperplasia and hypertrophy caused by the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha agonist Wy-14,643

C Wang1, J Youssef2, ML Cunningham3, M Badr2
1University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 64108; Department of Medicine, Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA
2University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
3Laboratory of Pharmacology and Chemistry, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA
DOI: 10.1186/1477-3163-3-9


Background: The metabolic inhibitor rotenone inhibits hepatocellular proliferation and the incidence of liver cancer resulting from exposure to the PPARα agonist Wy-14,643, via unknown mechanisms. Since the absence of thyroid hormones diminishes hepatomegaly, an early biomarker for the hepatocarcinogenicity induced by PPARα agonists, this study was undertaken to investigate whether rotenone might interference with the ability of Wy-14,643 to alter the animal thyroid status.
Methods: Male B6C3F1 mice were given Wy-14,643 (100 ppm), rotenone (600 ppm) or a mixture of both, in the feed for 7 days. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrDU), marker of cell replication, was delivered through subcutaneously implanted osmotic mini-pumps. At the end of the experiment, sera were collected and corticosterone and thyroid hormone levels were measured by solid-phase radioimmunoassay kits. In addition, liver tissue samples were stained immunohistochemically for BrDU to determine percentages of labeled cells. Further, cell surface area was determined from images generated by a Zeiss Axioplan microscope equipped with a plan Neofluar ×40 0.75 na objective. Tracings of individual hepatocyte perimeters were then analyzed and cell-surface areas were calculated using MicroMeasure FL-4000.
Results: Wy-14,643 caused a significant increase in liver weights, hepatocyte BrDU labeling index (LI), and hepatocyte surface area. In animals which received both Wy-14,643 and rotenone simultaneously, all of these effects were significantly less pronounced compared with mice that received Wy-14,643 alone. Rotenone alone decreased liver weights, LI and surface area. The Free Thyroid Index (FTI), which provides an accurate reflection of the animal’s thyroid status, was 5.0 ± 0.3 in control mice. In animals exposed to rotenone, these values decreased to 2.0 ± 0.9, but in animals which received Wy-14,643, levels increased significantly to 7.7 ± 0.9. FTI values decreased to 3.4 ± 0.8 in mice receiving both rotenone and Wy-14,643.
Conclusion: A strong correlation was observed between the animal thyroid status and both, hepatocyte proliferation (r 2 = 0.62), and hepatocyte surface area (r 2 = 0.83). These results support the hypothesis that the thyroid status of the animal plays a role in PPARα-induced hepatocellular proliferation and liver cell enlargement. Both these events are known to contribute to the expression of liver cancer in response to the activation of PPARα.