Comparison of styrene and its metabolites styrene oxide and 4-vinylphenol on cytotoxicity and glutathione depletion in Clara cells of mice and rats

Harvilchuck, J.A.; Carlson, G.P.

Toxicology 227(1-2): 165-172


ISSN/ISBN: 0300-483X
PMID: 16956708
DOI: 10.1016/j.tox.2006.08.001
Accession: 011885844

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Styrene is a widely used compound in the manufacturing industry. In mice and rats, it is both hepatotoxic and pneumotoxic. It causes lung tumors in mice, but not in rats. The Clara cell is the main target for the toxicity of styrene and its metabolites, and it also has the greatest activity for styrene metabolism. Therefore, Clara cells isolated from CD-1 mice and Sprague-Dawley rats were used to compare the cytotoxicities induced by styrene and its metabolites. The cytotoxicity of styrene was greater in vitro than that of its metabolites styrene oxide (racemic, R- and S-) and 4-vinylphenol in contrast with what has been observed in vivo in previous studies on hepatotoxicity and pneumotoxicity. Susceptibility of rats to styrene and its metabolites are 4-fold less than that observed with mice. Glutathione levels were also measured in mice following addition of the chemicals in vitro and treatment of the CD-1 mice in vivo. Decreases in glutathione concentrations were seen even at doses which did not cause the death of mouse Clara cells. Significant decreases in glutathione were observed 3h after treatment with racemic SO and R-SO. At 12h, rebound effects were seen for all compounds, with all but R-SO rebounding above controls. These studies suggest that in vitro cytotoxicity of styrene and its metabolites does not strictly follow in vivo effects and that decreases in mouse glutathione levels may be related to oxidative stress.