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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Aug 5;1428(2-3):406-14.

Characterization of the genotoxicity of anthraquinones in mammalian cells.

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Department of Toxicology, University of Würzburg, 97078, Würzburg, Germany.


Naturally occurring 1,8-dihydroxyanthraquinones are under consideration as possible carcinogens. Here we wanted to elucidate a possible mechanism of their genotoxicity. All three tested anthraquinones, emodin, aloe-emodin, and danthron, showed capabilities to inhibit the non-covalent binding of bisbenzimide Hoechst 33342 to isolated DNA and in mouse lymphoma L5178Y cells comparable to the topoisomerase II inhibitor and intercalator m-amsacrine. In a cell-free decatenation assay, emodin exerted a stronger, danthron a similar and aloe-emodin a weaker inhibition of topoisomerase II activity than m-amsacrine. Analysis of the chromosomal extent of DNA damage induced by these anthraquinones was performed in mouse lymphoma L5178Y cells. Anthraquinone-induced mutant cell clones showed similar chromosomal lesions when compared to the topoisomerase II inhibitors etoposide and m-amsacrine, but were different from mutants induced by the DNA alkylator ethyl methanesulfonate. These data support the idea that inhibition of the catalytic activity of topoisomerase II contributes to anthraquinone-induced genotoxicity and mutagenicity.

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