Sex-dependent gene expression after ochratoxin A insult in F344 rat kidney
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a potent rodent nephrocarcinogen; being males more sensitive than females. The objective was to study the response between sexes at gene expression level (whole genome transcriptomics) in kidneys of F344 rats treated with 0.21 or 0.50 mg/kg bw OTA for 21 days. DNA methylation analysis of selected genes was also studied (MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry). OTA-induced response was dose-dependent in males and females, although clearer in males. Females showed a higher number of altered genes than males but functional analysis revealed a higher number of significantly enriched toxicity lists in 0.21 mg/kg treated males. OTA modulated damage, signaling and metabolism related lists, as well as inflammation, proliferation and oxidative stress in both sexes. Eleven toxicity lists (damage, fibrosis, cell signaling and metabolism) were exclusively altered in males while renal safety biomarker and biogenesis of mitochondria lists were exclusively enriched in females. A high number of lists (39) were significantly enriched in both sexes. However, they contained many sex-biased OTA-modulated genes, mainly phase I and II, transporters and nuclear receptors, but also others related to cell proliferation/apoptosis. No biologically relevant changes were observed in the methylation of selected genes.