Selective induction of gene expression in rat lung by hexavalent chromium

Alberto Izzotti, Cristina Cartiglia, Roumen Balansky, Francesco D'Agostini, Mariagrazia Longobardi, Silvio De Flora

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Multigene-expression analysis provides a formidable tool for evaluating cellular functions, under either physiological or pathological conditions, and for assessing their modulation by exogenous agents. We investigated multigene expression in the liver and lung of rats receiving intratracheal instillations of sodium dichromate for 3 consecutive days. Nylon membrane cDNA arrays were hybridized with standardized amounts of 32P-labeled probes, and the results were normalized by making reference to housekeeping genes. The basal expression of 52 of 216 tested genes was 2.1-11.1 times higher in the liver than in the lung of control rats. No alteration of gene expression occurred in the liver of chromium(VI)-treated rats, consistent with the fact that this metal species, being reduced upstream, can exert effects only locally but not at a distance from the respiratory tract. In contrast, the expression of 56 genes was increased 2.1 to 3.0 times in the lung as an early response to chromium(VI) administration. The altered genes are involved in the metabolic reduction of chromium(VI) and in a variety of interconnected functions, such as multidrug resistance and stress response, protein and DNA repair mechanisms, signal transduction pathways, apoptosis, and cell-cycle modulation. Thus, short-term treatment with chromium(VI) by intratracheal administration triggered a variety of defense processes in the lung. Although the use of selected genes does not provide an exhaustive picture of overall gene expression, these findings contribute to our understanding of chromium toxicology and provide a further mechanistic support to the involvement of thresholds in chromium(VI) carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2002


  • CDNA arrays
  • Chromium
  • Metals
  • Multigene expression
  • Thresholds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Molecular Biology


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