Club Cells Are the Primary Target for Permethrin-Induced Mouse Lung Tumor Formation

Keiko Ogata, Yang Liu, Ayako Ohara, Kensuke Kawamoto, Miwa Kondo, Kumiko Kobayashi, Takako Fukuda, Hiroyuki Asano, Sachiko Kitamoto, Brian G. Lake, Samuel M. Cohen, Tomoya Yamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Permethrin has been shown to increase lung adenomas in female CD-1 mice, but not in male mice or Wistar rats. The proposed mode of action (MOA) for permethrin-induced female mouse lung tumor formation involves morphological changes in Club cells; increased Club cell proliferation; increased Club cell hyperplasia, and lung tumor formation. In this study, the treatment of female CD-1 mice with tumorigenic doses (2500 and 5000 ppm) of permethrin, but not with a nontumorigenic dose (20 ppm), for 14 and/or 28 days increased Club cell replicative DNA synthesis. Global gene expression analysis of female mouse lung samples demonstrated that permethrin treatment up-regulated 3 genes associated with cell proliferation, namely aldehyde dehydrogenase 3a1 (Aldh3a1), oxidative stress-induced growth inhibitor 1, and thioredoxin reductase 1. Treatment with 2500 and 5000 ppm, but not 20 ppm, permethrin for 7 days produced significant increases in mRNA levels of these 3 genes. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that Club cell secretory protein, CYP2F2, and ALDH3A1 colocalized in Club cells; confirmed by flow cytometry analysis of lung cells employing KI67 as a cell proliferation marker. Overall, the present data extend the proposed MOA by demonstrating that Club cells are the primary initial target of permethrin administration in female mouse lungs. As humans are quantitatively much less sensitive to agents that increase Club cell proliferation and lung tumor formation in mice, it is most likely that permethrin could not produce lung tumors in humans. This conclusion is supported by available negative epidemiological data from several studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-32
Number of pages18
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • cell proliferation
  • lung tumorigenesis
  • mode of action
  • permethrin
  • risk assessment
  • toxicogenomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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