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Cancer Lett. 1997 Jul 15;117(1):87-91.

Oxidative DNA damage in tissues of pregnant female mice and fetuses caused by the tobacco-specific nitrosamine, 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK).

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  • 1Division of Basic Science, National Cancer Institute, Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, MD 21702, USA.


The tobacco-specific nitrosamine, 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), induces the promutagenic oxidative-damage DNA lesion, 8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG), in adult animals. To investigate whether this alteration occurs in DNA after transplacental exposure, pregnant Swiss mice were administered single or multiple doses of NNK. The 8-oxo-dG was quantified in placenta, and maternal and fetal tissues. In maternal lungs, single and multiple doses of NNK significantly increased levels of 8-oxo-dG by 23% and 32%, respectively. In maternal liver, a significant 38% increase was observed after multiple dose treatment. In the fetuses, a significant 45% increase in 8-oxo-dG levels was observed in liver after multiple doses of NNK. This is the first demonstration of oxidative DNA damage after transplacental exposure to NNK, and supports the concept of maternal smoking as a contributor to the development of childhood cancer.

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