Jpn. J. Pharmacol. 84 (3), 339-346 (2000)

Cortical Astrocytes Exposed to Tributyltin Undergo Morphological Changes In Vitro

Satomi Mizuhashi, Yuji Ikegaya*, Nobuyoshi Nishiyama and Norio Matsuki

Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
*Corresponding author.╩╩FAX:+81-3-5841-4784

Abstract: We investigated the effect of tributyltin (TBT), an endocrine-disrupting chemical, on the morphology and viability of cultured rat cortical astrocytes. Cultured astrocytes exhibited smooth and planiform morphology under normal conditions. Following exposure to TBT, however, they showed rapid morphological changes that are characterized by asteriated cell bodies and process formation in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Higher concentrations of TBT produced progressive cell death of the astrocytes. In serum-free medium, TBT at a concentration as low as 200╩nM induced the stellation. Pharmacological studies revealed that the morphological changes were alleviated by application of diverse free radical scavengers or antioxidants such as catalase, superoxide dismutase, Trolox, ascorbic acid and N-acetyl-L-cysteine, suggesting that TBT-induced stellation is caused by oxidative stress involving free radicals, particularly reactive oxygen species. Furthermore, we found that the astrocyte stellation was abolished by treatment with inhibitors of phospholipase╩C, mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase or tyrosine phosphatase. The data suggest that TBT causes the stellation through intracellular signaling cascades rather than its non-specific toxicity. These findings provide an important insight for reconciling the problems in assumed aversive actions of this environmental pollutant for mammals.

Keywords: Organotin, Tributyltin, Astrocyte, Stellation, Morphology

Copyrightę The Japanese Pharmacological Society 2000

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