Nathan J Cherrington

Nathan J Cherrington

Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology
Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies - College of Pharmacy
Director, Southwest Environmental Health Science Center
Professor, Public Health
Professor, Clinical Translational Sciences
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
Contact
(520) 626-0219

Research Interest

Research Interest

Numerous drug-induced and environmental exposure-related toxicities are the result of inter-individual variation in the ADME processes of absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination that control the fate of these compounds from the body. Alterations in these processes provide the mechanistic basis for individual variability in response to drugs and environmental exposures. A common perception is that variability in response is due to genetic polymorphisms within the drug metabolizing enzyme and transporter genes. While there are numerous examples of these differences that play a major role in the susceptibility of genetic subpopulations for specific toxicities, the potential for transient phenotypic conversion due to temporary environmental changes, such as inflammation and disease, are often overlooked.Due to the ensuing liver damage caused by the progressive stages of NAFLD, gene expression patterns can change dramatically resulting in a phenoconversion resembling genetic polymorphisms. Because the liver plays such a key role in the metabolism and disposition of xenobiotics, this temporary phenoconversion could lead to the inability of patients to properly metabolize and excrete drugs and environmental toxicants, increasing the risk of some adverse drug reactions and environmental toxicities.

Publications

Lickteig, A. J., Fisher, C. D., Augustine, L. M., Aleksunes, L. M., Besselsen, D. G., Slitt, A. L., Manautou, J. E., & Cherrington, N. J. (2007). Efflux transporter expression and acetaminophen metabolite excretion are altered in rodent models of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals, 35(10), 1970-8.
BIO5 Collaborators
David G Besselsen, Nathan J Cherrington

Efflux transporters are responsible for the excretion of numerous xenobiotics and endobiotics and thus play an essential role in proper liver and kidney function. Nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLDs) comprise a spectrum of disorders that range from simple fatty liver (SFL) to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Although the precise events leading to NAFLD are unclear, even less is known about the effects on efflux transporter expression and drug disposition. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of NAFLD on efflux transporter expression in rat liver as well as on acetaminophen (APAP) metabolite excretion. To simulate SFL and NASH, rats were fed either a high-fat (HF) or a methionine- and choline-deficient (MCD) diet for 8 weeks. In the livers of MCD rats, there were striking increases in both mRNA and protein levels of multidrug resistance-associated protein (Mrp) 3, Mrp4, and breast cancer resistance protein, as well as increased Mrp2 protein. After administration of a nontoxic dose of APAP, biliary concentrations of APAP-sulfate, APAP-glucuronide (APAP-GLUC), and APAP-glutathione were reduced in MCD rats. The effects of the HF diet on both transporter expression and APAP disposition were by comparison far less dramatic than the MCD diet-induced alterations. Whereas APAP-sulfate levels were also decreased in MCD rat plasma, the levels of the Mrp3 substrate APAP-GLUC were elevated. Urinary elimination of APAP metabolites was identical between groups, except for APAP-GLUC, the concentration of which was 80% higher in MCD rats. These studies correlate increased hepatic Mrp3 protein in the MCD model of NASH with increased urinary elimination of APAP-GLUC. Furthermore, the proportional shift in elimination of APAP metabolites from bile to urine indicates that MCD-induced alterations in efflux transporter expression can affect the route of drug elimination.

Beilke, L. D., Aleksunes, L. M., Olson, E. R., Besselsen, D. G., Klaassen, C. D., Dvorak, K., & Cherrington, N. J. (2009). Decreased apoptosis during CAR-mediated hepatoprotection against lithocholic acid-induced liver injury in mice. Toxicology letters, 188(1), 38-44.
BIO5 Collaborators
David G Besselsen, Nathan J Cherrington

Myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) is an anti-apoptotic protein that is regulated by the constitutive androstane receptor (CAR). Activation of CAR can protect the liver against bile acid-induced toxicity and it may have a role in cell death via apoptosis by altering expression of Bcl-2 family proteins such as myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1). Our aim was to determine if activation of CAR reduces hepatocellular apoptosis during cholestasis as a mechanism of hepatoprotection. CAR(+/+) (WT) and CAR(-/-) (CAR-null) mice were pre-treated with compounds known to activate CAR prior to induction of intrahepatic cholestasis using the secondary bile acid lithocholic acid (LCA). Pre-treatment with the CAR activators phenobarbital (PB) and TCPOBOP (TC), as well as the non-CAR activator pregnenolone 16alpha-carbontrile (PCN), protected against LCA-induced liver injury in WT mice, whereas liver injury was more extensive without CAR (CAR-null). Unexpectedly, expression of anti-apoptotic Mcl-1 and Bcl-x(L) was not increased in hepatoprotected mice. Compared to unprotected groups, apoptosis was decreased in hepatoprotected mice as evidenced by the absence of cleaved caspase 3 (cCasp3). In contrast to the cytoplasmic localization in the injured livers (LCA and oltipraz), Mcl-1 protein was localized in the nucleus of hepatoprotected livers to potentially promote cell survival. This study demonstrates that although apoptosis is reduced in hepatoprotected mice pre-treated with CAR and non-CAR activators; hepatoprotection is not directly a result of CAR-induced Mcl-1 expression.

Han, J., Dzierlenga, A. L., Lu, Z., Billheimer, D. D., Torabzadeh, E., Lake, A. D., Li, H., Novak, P., Shipkova, P., Aranibar, N., Robertson, D., Reily, M. D., Lehman-McKeeman, L. D., & Cherrington, N. J. (2017). Metabolomic profiling distinction of human nonalcoholic fatty liver disease progression from a common rat model. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 25(6), 1069-1076.
BIO5 Collaborators
Dean Billheimer, Nathan J Cherrington

Characteristic pathological changes define the progression of steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and are correlated to metabolic pathways. A common rodent model of NASH is the methionine and choline deficient (MCD) diet. The objective of this study was to perform full metabolomic analyses on liver samples to determine which pathways are altered most pronouncedly in this condition in humans, and to compare these changes to rodent models of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Lake, A. D., Novak, P., Fisher, C. D., Jackson, J. P., Hardwick, R. N., Billheimer, D. D., Klimecki, W. T., & Cherrington, N. J. (2011). Analysis of global and absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination gene expression in the progressive stages of human nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Drug Metabolism and Disposition, 39(10), 1954-1960.
BIO5 Collaborators
Dean Billheimer, Nathan J Cherrington, Walter Klimecki

PMID: 21737566;PMCID: PMC3186211;Abstract:

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by a series of pathological changes that range from simple fatty liver to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The objective of this study is to describe changes in global gene expression associated with the progression of human NAFLD. This study is focused on the expression levels of genes responsible for the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination (ADME) of drugs. Differential gene expression between three clinically defined pathological groups - normal, steatosis, and NASH - was analyzed. Genome-wide mRNA levels in samples of human liver tissue were assayed with Affymetrix GeneChip Human 1.0ST arrays. A total of 11,633 genes exhibited altered expression out of 33,252 genes at a 5% false discovery rate. Most gene expression changes occurred in the progression from steatosis to NASH. Principal component analysis revealed that hepatic disease status was the major determinant of differential ADME gene expression rather than age or sex of sample donors. Among the 515 drug transporters and 258 drug-metabolizing enzymes (DMEs) examined, uptake transporters but not efflux transporters or DMEs were significantly over-represented in the number of genes down-regulated. These results suggest that uptake transporter genes are coordinately targeted for down-regulation at the global level during the pathological development of NASH and that these patients may have decreased drug uptake capacity. This coordinated regulation of uptake transporter genes is indicative of a hepatoprotective mechanism acting to prevent accumulation of toxic intermediates in disease- compromised hepatocytes. Copyright © 2011 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Li, H., Canet, M. J., Clarke, J. D., Billheimer, D., Xanthakos, S. A., Lavine, J. E., Erickson, R. P., & Cherrington, N. J. (2017). Pediatric Cytochrome P450 Activity Alterations in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis. Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals, 45(12), 1317-1325.
BIO5 Collaborators
Dean Billheimer, Nathan J Cherrington

Variable drug responses depend on individual variation in the activity of drug-metabolizing enzymes, including cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYP). As the most common chronic liver disease in children and adults, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has been identified as a source of significant interindividual variation in hepatic drug metabolism. Compared with adults, children present age-related differences in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of fatty liver disease severity on the activity of a variety of CYP enzymes in children and adolescents. Healthy and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease pediatric subjects aged 12-21 years inclusive received an oral cocktail of four probe drugs: caffeine (CYP1A2, 100 mg), omeprazole (CYP2C19, 20 mg), losartan (CYP2C9, 25 mg), and midazolam (CYP3A4, 2 mg). Venous blood and urine were collected before administration and 1, 2, 4, and 6 hours after administration. Concentrations of the parent drugs and CYP-specific metabolites were quantified in plasma and urine using liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. In plasma, the decreased metabolic area under the curve (AUC) ratio, defined as the metabolite AUC to parent AUC, of omeprazole indicated significant decreases of CYP2C19 (P = 0.002) enzymatic activities in NASH adolescents, while the urine analyses did not show significant differences and were highly variable. A comparison between the present in vivo pediatric studies and a previous ex vivo study in adults indicates distinct differences in the activities of CYP1A2 and CYP2C9. These data demonstrate that pediatric NASH presents an altered pattern of CYP activity and NASH should be considered as a confounder of drug metabolism for certain CYP enzymes. These differences could lead to future investigations that may reveal unexpected variable drug responses that should be considered in pediatric dosage recommendations.