Species-specific recombinant cell lines as bioassay systems for the detection of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin-like chemicals

Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1996 Apr;30(2):194-203. doi: 10.1006/faat.1996.0056.


Exposure to specific polychlorinated diaromatic hydrocarbons (PCDH), such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD, dioxin), produces a wide variety of species- and tissue-specific toxic and biological effects. Many of these responses are mediated by the Ah receptor (AhR) and are modulated by the interaction of the PCDH:AhR complex with its DNA recognition sequence (the dioxin-responsive element (DRE)). We have constructed a recombinant expression plasmid which contains the luciferase gene under TCDD-inducible control of several DREs and responds to TCDD-like chemicals with the induction of firefly luciferase. Stable transfection of this vector into various cell lines has produced a series of species-specific cell bioassay systems that respond to TCDD-like chemicals with the induction of luciferase in a time-, dose-, and AhR-dependent manner. In addition, these cell lines have been used to demonstrate that 2,2',5,5'-tetrachlorobiphenyl can act as a species-specific AhR antagonist. Overall, these recombinant cell lines can be used for the detection and relative quantitation of AhR agonists/antagonists in complex mixtures of environmental and biological samples, for identification and characterization of novel AhR agonists, and for examination of species differences in PCDH responsiveness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Assay / methods
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Luciferases / biosynthesis
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Mice
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / pharmacology
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / analogs & derivatives*
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / analysis*
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / genetics
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / metabolism
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Species Specificity
  • Transfection


  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls
  • Luciferases