Sex differences in ochratoxin a toxicity in F344 rats after 7 and 21 days of daily oral administration
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a potent renal carcinogen in male rats but not in females. The mechanisms underlying these differences are unknown. The sex-dependent response of F344 rats after a repeated OTA oral administration for 7 (0.50 mg/kg bw) or 21 days (0.21 and 0.50 mg/kg bw) was evaluated. General toxicity, sex and thyroid hormones and histopathology were studied. OTA was quantified (HPLC-FLD) in plasma, kidney and liver and the expression of kidney transporters (RT-qPCR) was studied. After 7 days, kidney histopathology showed more pronounced signs of toxicity in males than in females. After 21 days, a higher toxicity was observed but sex differences disappeared. OTA concentration in plasma and tissues was similar in both sexes. Downregulation was the general OTA-induced effect. Oats' downregulation was slow in males and Oat3 did not change in females. Oatp1 was strongly downregulated in males after 21 days. An opposite effect was observed in Bcrp after 21 days: downregulation in males and upregulation in females. Females showed a dose- and time-dependent decrease of progesterone. Despite the sex differences, the final balance in OTA toxicokinetics at renal cell level does not seem to support a higher accumulation of OTA in male kidneys.