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Environ Health Perspect. Oct 2002; 110(10): 1003–1008.
PMCID: PMC1241026
Research Article

Mechanisms of the genotoxicity of crocidolite asbestos in mammalian cells: implication from mutation patterns induced by reactive oxygen species.

Abstract

Asbestos is an important environmental carcinogen in the United States and remains the primary occupational concern in many developing countries; however, the underlying mechanisms of its genotoxicity are not known. We showed previously that asbestos is a potent gene and chromosomal mutagen in mammalian cells and that it induces mostly multilocus deletions. Furthermore, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are associated with the mutagenic process. To evaluate the contribution of ROS to the mutagenicity of asbestos, we examined their generation, particularly hydrogen peroxide, and compared the types of mutants induced by crocidolite fibers with those generated by H(2)O(2 )in human-hamster hybrid (A(L)) cells. Using confocal scanning microscopy together with the radical probe 5,6 -chloromethy-2,7 -dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (CM-H(2)DCFDA), we found that asbestos induces a dose-dependent increase in the level of ROS among fiber-treated A(L) cells, which is suppressed by concurrent treatment with dimethyl sulfoxide. Using N-acetyl-3,7-dihydroxyphenoxazine (Amplex Red reagent) together with horseradish peroxidase, we further demonstrated that there was a dose-dependent induction of H(2)O(2) in crocidolite-treated A(L) cells. The amount of H(2)O(2 )induced by asbestos reached a plateau at a dose of 6 microg/cm(2). Concurrent treatment with catalase (1,000 U/mL) inhibited this induction by 7- to 8-fold. Mutation spectrum analysis showed that the types of CD59(-) mutants induced by crocidolite fibers were similar to those induced by equitoxic doses of H(2)O(2). These results provide direct evidence that the mutagenicity of asbestos is mediated by ROS in mammalian cells.

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Selected References

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