12(R)-hydroxy-5(Z),8(Z),10(E),14(Z)-eicosatetraenoic acid [12(R)-HETE], an arachidonic acid derivative, is an activator of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor

Christopher R. Chiaro, Rushang D. Patel, Gary H. Perdew

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56 Scopus citations


The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a ligand-regulated transcription factor that can be activated by structurally diverse chemicals, ranging from environmental carcinogens to dietary metabolites. Evidence supporting a necessary role for the AHR in normal biology has been established; however, identification of key endogenous ligand/activator remains to be established. Here, we report the ability of 12(R)-hydroxy-5(Z),8(Z),10(E), 14(Z)-eicosatetraenoic acid [12(R)-HETE], an arachidonic acid metabolite produced by either a lipoxygenase or cytochrome P-450 pathway, to act as a potent indirect modulator of the AHR pathway. In contrast, structurally similar HETE isomers failed to demonstrate significant activation of the AHR. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays, together with ligand competition binding experiments, have demonstrated the inability of 12(R)-HETE to directly bind or directly activate the AHR to a DNA binding species in vitro. However, cell-based xenobiotic-responsive element-driven luciferase reporter assays indicate the ability of 12(R)-HETE to modulate AHR activity, and quantitation of induction of an AHR target gene confirmed 12(R)-HETE's ability to activate AHR-mediated transcription, even at high nanomolar concentrations in human hepatoma (HepG2)-and keratinocyte (HaCaT)-derived cell lines. One explanation for these results is that a metabolite of 12(R)-HETE is acting as a direct ligand for the AHR. However, several known metabolites failed to exhibit AHR activity. The ability of 12(R)-HETE to activate AHR target genes required receptor expression. These results indicate that 12(R)-HETE can serve as a potent activator of AHR activity and suggest that in normal and inflammatory disease conditions in skin, 12(R)-HETE is produced, perhaps leading to AHR activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1649-1656
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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