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      Etiology of Balkan Endemic Nephropathy and Associated Urothelial Cancer

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          Abstract

          Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN) is a familial chronic tubulointerstitial disease with insidious onset and slow progression to terminal renal failure. Evidence has accumulated that BEN is an environmentally induced disease. There are three actual theories attempting to explain the environmental cause of this disease: (1) the aristolochic acid hypothesis, which considers that the disease is produced by chronic intoxication with Aristolochia, (2) the mycotoxin hypothesis, which considers that BEN is produced by ochratoxin A, and (3) the Pliocene lignite hypothesis, which proposes that the disease is caused by long-term exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other toxic organic compounds leaching into the well drinking water from low-rank coals in the vicinity to the endemic settlements. Moreover, it was suggested that BEN risk is influenced by inherited susceptibility. Therefore, it has been expected that molecular biological investigations will discover genetic markers of BEN and associated urothelial cancer, permitting early identification of susceptible individuals who may be at risk of exposure to the environmental agents. Since kidney pathophysiology is complex, gene expression analysis and highly throughput proteomic technology can identify candidate genes, proteins and molecule networks that eventually could play a role in BEN development. Investigation of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions could be the content of further studies determining the precise risk for BEN.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Urothelial carcinoma associated with the use of a Chinese herb (Aristolochia fangchi)

          Chinese-herb nephropathy is a progressive form of renal fibrosis that develops in some patients who take weight-reducing pills containing Chinese herbs. Because of a manufacturing error, one of the herbs in these pills (Stephania tetrandra) was inadvertently replaced by Aristolochia fangchi, which is nephrotoxic and carcinogenic. The diagnosis of a neoplastic lesion in the native urinary tract of a renal-transplant recipient who had Chinese-herb nephropathy prompted us to propose regular cystoscopic examinations and the prophylactic removal of the native kidneys and ureters in all our patients with end-stage Chinese-herb nephropathy who were being treated with either transplantation or dialysis. Surgical specimens were examined histologically and analyzed for the presence of DNA adducts formed by aristolochic acid. All prescriptions written for Chinese-herb weight-reducing compounds during the period of exposure (1990 to 1992) in these patients were obtained, and the cumulative doses were calculated. Among 39 patients who agreed to undergo prophylactic surgery, there were 18 cases of urothelial carcinoma (prevalence, 46 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 29 to 62 percent): 17 cases of carcinoma of the ureter, renal pelvis, or both and 1 papillary bladder tumor. Nineteen of the remaining patients had mild-to-moderate urothelial dysplasia, and two had normal urothelium. All tissue samples analyzed contained aristolochic acid-related DNA adducts. The cumulative dose of aristolochia was a significant risk factor for urothelial carcinoma, with total doses of more than 200 g associated with a higher risk of urothelial carcinoma. The prevalence of urothelial carcinoma among patients with end-stage Chinese-herb nephropathy (caused by aristolochia species) is a high.
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            Aristolochic acid as a probable human cancer hazard in herbal remedies: a review.

            The old herbal drug aristolochic acid (AA), derived from Aristolochia spp., has been associated with the development of a novel nephropathy, designated aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN), and urothelial cancer in AAN patients. There is clear evidence that the major components of the plant extract AA, aristolochic acid I (AAI) and aristolochic acid II (AAII), both nitrophenanthrene carboxylic acids, are genotoxic mutagens forming DNA adducts after metabolic activation through simple reduction of the nitro group. Several mammalian enzymes have been shown to be capable of activating both AAI and AAII in vitro and in cells. The activating metabolism has been elucidated and is consistent with the formation of a cyclic nitrenium ion with delocalized charge leading to the preferential formation of purine adducts bound to the exocyclic amino groups of deoxyadenosine and deoxyguanosine. The predominant DNA adduct in vivo, 7-(deoxyadenosin-N(6)-yl)aristolactam I (dA-AAI), which is the most persistent of the adducts in target tissue, is a mutagenic lesion leading to AT-->TA transversions in vitro. This transversion mutation is found at high frequency in codon 61 of the H-ras oncogene in tumours of rodents induced by AAI, suggesting that dA-AAI might be the critical lesion in the carcinogenic process in rodents. DNA-binding studies confirmed that both AAs bind to the adenines of codon 61 in the H-ras mouse gene and preferentially to purines in the human p53 gene. In contrast, the molecular mechanism of renal interstitial fibrosis in humans after chronic administration of AA remains to be explored. However, preliminary findings suggest that DNA damage by AA is not only responsible for the tumour development but also for the destructive fibrotic process in the kidney. It is concluded that there is significant evidence that AA is a powerful nephrotoxic and carcinogenic substance with an extremely short latency period, not only in animals but also in humans. In particular, the highly similar metabolic pathway of activation and resultant DNA adducts of AA allows the extrapolation of carcinogenesis data from laboratory animals to the human situation. Therefore, all products containing botanicals known to or suspected of containing AA should be banned from the market world wide.
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              Identification of functionally variant MDR1 alleles among European Americans and African Americans.

              MDR1 (P-glycoprotein) is an important factor in the disposition of many drugs, and the involved processes often exhibit considerable interindividual variability that may be genetically determined. Single-strand conformational polymorphism analysis and direct sequencing of exonic MDR1 deoxyribonucleic acid from 37 healthy European American and 23 healthy African American subjects identified 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), including 6 nonsynonymous variants, occurring in various allelic combinations. Population frequencies of the 15 identified alleles varied according to racial background. Two synonymous SNPs (C1236T in exon 12 and C3435T in exon 26) and a nonsynonymous SNP (G2677T, Ala893Ser) in exon 21 were found to be linked (MDR1*2 ) and occurred in 62% of European Americans and 13% of African Americans. In vitro expression of MDR1 encoding Ala893 (MDR1*1 ) or a site-directed Ser893 mutation (MDR1*2 ) indicated enhanced efflux of digoxin by cells expressing the MDR1-Ser893 variant. In vivo functional relevance of this SNP was assessed with the known P-glycoprotein drug substrate fexofenadine as a probe of the transporter's activity. In humans, MDR1*1 and MDR1*2 variants were associated with differences in fexofenadine levels, consistent with the in vitro data, with the area under the plasma level-time curve being almost 40% greater in the *1/*1 genotype compared with the *2/*2 and the *1/*2 heterozygotes having an intermediate value, suggesting enhanced in vivo P-glycoprotein activity among subjects with the MDR1*2 allele. Thus allelic variation in MDR1 is more common than previously recognized and involves multiple SNPs whose allelic frequencies vary between populations, and some of these SNPs are associated with altered P-glycoprotein function.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                AJN
                Am J Nephrol
                10.1159/issn.0250-8095
                American Journal of Nephrology
                S. Karger AG
                0250-8095
                1421-9670
                2006
                April 2006
                05 April 2006
                : 26
                : 1
                : 1-11
                Affiliations
                aInstitute of Nephrology and Hemodialysis, Faculty of Medicine, Niš, Serbia; bDepartment of Medical Genetics, Medical University, Sofia, Bulgaria; cDepartment of Clinical Chemistry, Georg August University, Göttingen, Germany, and dMacedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Skopje, Macedonia
                Article
                90705 Am J Nephrol 2006;26:1–11
                10.1159/000090705
                16391464
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Tables: 4, References: 71, Pages: 11
                Product
                Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/90705
                Categories
                In-Depth Topic Review

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