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Dynamic changes in metabolic profiles of rats subchronically exposed to mequindox

Jiang, L.; Zhao, X.; Huang, C.; Lei, H.; Tang, H.; Wang, Y.

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Mequindox is widely used as an antibacterial veterinary drug and a feeding additive for farm animals in China. Although its toxicity has been widely studied, little is known regarding the metabolic effects of subchronic exposure to mequindox, which is vital for the health of meat producing livestock. Here, we characterized the dose- and time-dependent metabolic alterations in female Wistar rats subchronically exposed to mequindox through dietary supplementation at the level of 40, 110 and 280 mg kg-1 for 13 weeks, employing a NMR based metabonomics approach with supplementary information from serum clinical chemistry. We found that urinary metabolic profiles were significantly affected in all dosed groups during the supplementation period; plasma and hepatic metabolic profiles were significantly affected only in rats dosed with moderate and high levels of mequindox. We also observed a return to control levels, for the profiles of urine and liver, at all dose levels after a two weeks washout period. However, this was not the case for the metabolic profiles of plasma from rats dosed at high levels. At the molecular level, we showed that subchronic exposure to mequindox resulted in tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle) stimulation, suppression of glycolysis, and promotion of gluconeogenesis and lipid oxidation in rats. In addition, subchronic exposure to mequindox induced oxidative stress in rats. Furthermore, a disturbance of gut microbiota, manifested by alterations in the urinary excretion of hippurate, phenylacetylglycine, 3-(3-hydroxyphenyl)propionate, p-cresol glucuronide, methylamine, dimethylamine, and formate, was associated with mequindox exposure. The present study provided important holistic metabolic information on the effects of subchronic dosage of mequindox on rats, which is useful for evaluating the safety of mequindox usage in meat producing animals. © the Partner Organisations 2014.

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