NF-kappa B DNA-binding activity in embryos responding to a teratogen, cyclophosphamide.

Arkady Torchinsky*, Lucy Lishanski, Orit Wolstein, Jeanne Shepshelovich, Hasida Orenstein, Shoshana Savion, Zeev Zaslavsky, Howard Carp, Alexander Brill, Rivka Dikstein, Vladimir Toder, Amos Fein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The Rel/NF-kappaB transcription factors have been shown to regulate apoptosis in different cell types, acting as inducers or blockers in a stimuli- and cell type-dependent fashion. One of the Rel/NF-kappaB subunits, RelA, has been shown to be crucial for normal embryonic development, in which it functions in the embryonic liver as a protector against TNFalpha-induced physiological apoptosis. This study assesses whether NF-kappaB may be involved in the embryo's response to teratogens. Fot this, we evaluated how NF-KappaB DNA binding activity in embryonic organs demonstrating differential sensitivity to a reference teratogen, cyclophosphamide, correlates with dysmorphic events induced by the teratogen at the cellular level (excessive apoptosis) and at the organ level (structural anomalies). RESULTS: The embryonic brain and liver were used as target organs. We observed that the Cyclophosphamide-induced excessive apoptosis in the brain, followed by the formation of severe craniofacial structural anomalies, was accompanied by suppression of NF-kappaB DNA-binding activity as well as by a significant and lasting increase in the activity of caspases 3 and 8. However, in the liver, in which cyclophosphamide induced transient apoptosis was not followed by dysmorphogenesis, no suppression of NF-kappaB DNA-binding activity was registered and the level of active caspases 3 and 8 was significantly lower than in the brain. It has also been observed that both the brain and liver became much more sensitive to the CP-induced teratogenic insult if the embryos were exposed to a combined treatment with the teratogen and sodium salicylate that suppressed NF-kappaB DNA-binding activity in these organs. CONCLUSION: The results of this study demonstrate that suppression of NF-kappaB DNA-binding activity in embryos responding to the teratogenic insult may be associated with their decreased resistance to this insult. They also suggest that teratogens may suppress NF-kappaB DNA-binding activity in the embryonic tissues in an organ type- and dose-dependent fashion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Developmental Biology
StatePublished - 2002


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