Hematopoiesis toxicity induced by 4-methylumbelliferon determined in an invertebrate model organism

<p>Umbelliferone has potential value as it has an inhibitory effect on tumor cells; however, its impact on an animal's circulatory system and hematopoietic function has not been reported. In this study, 4-methylumbelliferon (4-MU), an umbelliferone derivative, was used as a model drug, and its potential toxicity on hemocytes and hematopoietic organs (HOs) was investigated using an invertebrate animal model, the silkworm, <i>Bombyx mori</i>. The results showed that the level of reactive oxygen species in HOs increased when larvae (third day of the fifth instar) were orally exposed to 4 mM 4-MU for 8 min, followed by the induction of improved antioxidative metabolism of coenzymes in hemolymph. Exposure to 4-MU also significantly upregulated the expression levels of several genes in the hemolymph and fat body (a detoxification tissue similar to the liver in mammals) including antimicrobial peptide gene <i>cecropinA</i> and <i>moricin</i>, and a phagocytosis-related gene, <i>tetraspanin E</i>, suggesting an increased antioxidant level and antimicrobial ability of the circulatory system. However, the percentage of dead hemocytes increased and hematopoiesis significantly decreased in HOs, indicating the toxic effect of 4-MU on hemocytes and hematopoiesis, despite it inducing enhanced antioxidant and antimicrobial activity in the circulatory system.</p>