This study investigated the effects of long-term low-dose 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) exposure on retinoid, thyroid hormone, and vitamin D homeostasis in Long-Evans and Han/Wistar rats using a tumor promotion exposure protocol. Female rats (ten/group) were partially hepatectomized, initiated with nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), and given TCDD once per week by sc injection for 20 weeks at calculated daily doses of 0, 1, 10, 100, or 1000 ng/kg bw/day. Groups of nonhepatectomized/uninitiated rats (five/group) were identically maintained. After 20 weeks, the rats were killed, and apolar retinoid levels were determined in the liver and kidneys. No consistent differences were seen between partially hepatectomized/initiated and nonhepatectomized/uninitiated animals with respect to apolar retinoid levels or hepatic TCDD concentration. Further analyses of polar and apolar retinoid levels in liver, plasma, and kidney, as well as free thyroxine (FT4) and vitamin D (25-OH-D(3)) concentrations were carried out in partially hepatectomized/inititated animals. In Long-Evans rats, TCDD exposure dose-dependently decreased hepatic retinyl ester concentrations at doses of 1-100 ng/kg bw/day. Likewise, hepatic all-trans-retinoic acid (all-trans-RA) concentration was decreased 39 and 54% at 10 and 100 ng/kg bw/day respectively, whereas 9-cis-4-oxo-13,14-dihydro-retinoic acid (9-cis-4-oxo-13,14-dihydro-RA), a recently discovered retinoic acid metabolite, was decreased approximately 60% in the liver at 1 ng/kg bw/day. TCDD dose-dependently increased plasma retinol and kidney retinol concentrations, whereas all-trans-RA concentration was also increased in the plasma and kidney at 10 and 100 ng/kg bw/day. Plasma 9-cis-4-oxo-13,14-dihydro-RA was decreased to below detection limits from doses of 1 ng/kg bw/day TCDD. A qualitatively similar pattern of retinoid disruption was observed in the Han/Wistar rat strain following TCDD exposure. FT4 was decreased to a similar extent in both strains, whereas 25-OH-D(3) was decreased only at 100 ng/kg bw/day in Long-Evans rats. Together these results show that TCDD disrupts both retinoid storage and metabolism of retinoic acid and retinoic acid metabolites in liver, kidney, and plasma from doses as low as 1 ng/kg bw/day. Furthermore, 9-cis-4-oxo-13,14-dihydro-RA was identified as a novel and sensitive indicator of TCDD exposure, in a resistant and sensitive rat strain, thereby extending the database of low-dose TCDD effects.
2005. Vol. 86, no 2, 264-272 p.