Clofibrate is a known rodent hepatotoxicant classically associated with hepatocellular hypertrophy and increased serum activities of cellular alanine aminotransferase/aspartate aminotransferase (ALT/AST) in the absence of microscopic hepatocellular degeneration. At toxic dose, clofibrate induces liver and skeletal muscle injury. The objective of this study was to assess novel liver and skeletal muscle biomarkers following clofibrate administration in Wistar rats at different dose levels for 7 days. In addition to classical biomarkers, liver injury was assessed by cytokeratin 18 (CK18) cleaved form, high-mobility group box 1, arginase 1 (ARG1), microRNA 122 (miR-122), and glutamate dehydrogenase. Skeletal muscle injury was evaluated with fatty acid binding protein 3 (Fabp3) and myosin light chain 3 (Myl3). Clofibrate-induced hepatocellular hypertrophy and skeletal muscle degeneration (type I rich muscles) were noted microscopically. CK, Fabp3, and Myl3 elevations correlated to myofiber degeneration. Fabp3 and Myl3 outperformed CK for detection of myofiber degeneration of minimal severity. miR-122 and ARG1 results were significantly correlated and indicated the absence of liver toxicity at low doses of clofibrate, despite increased ALT/AST activities. Moreover, combining classical and novel biomarkers (Fabp3, Myl3, ARG1, and miR-122) can be considered a valuable strategy for differentiating increased transaminases due to liver toxicity from skeletal muscle toxicity.
ALT/AST activity; Wistar rats; biomarkers; clofibrate; hepatoxicity; skeletal muscle degeneration