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Caspase-3 and heat shock protein-70 in rat liver treated with aflatoxin B1: effect of melatonin.


In the present study, caspase-3 enzyme activity (apoptotic marker) and heat shock protein-70 (HSP70) expression in male rat liver after aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) treatment and the effect of melatonin (MEL) were investigated. Four groups of 20 rats each were used: controls, MEL-treated rats (MEL dose, 5 mg/kg body wt), AFB1-treated rats (50 microg/kg body wt) and MEL+AFB1-treated rats. After 8 weeks of daily treatment, biochemical assays in liver homogenates were done. The caspase-3 enzyme activity was measured using colorimetric method while the level of HSP70 expression was determined using dot blot analysis. In addition, the tissue levels of lipid peroxides (LPO), nitric oxide (NO), glutathione (GSH) and the enzyme activities of glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione peroxidase (GSPx) were determined using colorimetric methods. The levels of caspase-3 activities and HSP70 level in AFB1 group were significantly higher than control group. Concomitantly, the levels of oxidative stress indices, LPO and NO, were significantly increased while the levels of antioxidants, GSH, GSPx and GR in AFB1 group were significantly decreased compared to their levels in controls. Caspase-3 activity was positively correlated with LPO while negatively correlated with GSH in rat livers treated with AFB1. The levels of caspase-3 activity, LPO, NO and HSP70 expression were significantly lower while the levels of GSH, GSPx and GR activities were significantly higher in MEL+AFB1 group than AFB1 group. In conclusion, higher levels of caspase-3 activity and HSP70 expression were associated with oxidative stress in rat liver treated with AFB1. The increased HSP70 expression in liver of AFB1 group may be due to a compensatory defense mechanism. MEL may effectively normalize the impaired antioxidants status, which consequently reduce both expression of HSP70 and apoptotic dysregulation in the liver. Thus, clinical application of MEL as therapy may benefit in cases of aflatoxicosis.


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    Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut 71111, Egypt.

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    Aflatoxin B1
    Caspase 3
    Glutathione Peroxidase
    Glutathione Reductase
    HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
    Lipid Peroxides
    Nitric Oxide
    Oxidative Stress
    Rats, Sprague-Dawley

    Pub Type(s)

    Comparative Study
    Journal Article



    PubMed ID