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Environ Mol Mutagen. 2000;35(4):319-27.

The tumor promoter TPA enhances benzo[a]pyrene and benzo[a]pyrene diolepoxide mutagenesis in Big Blue mouse skin.

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Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0056, USA.


The Big Blue mouse was used to investigate the role of cell proliferation in mutation fixation in the mouse back skin model of carcinogenesis. Phorbol 12-myristate 13 acetate (TPA) was applied to the dorsum of Big Blue mice to manipulate cell proliferation, and benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) or BaP-diolepoxide (BPDE) was applied to produce premutagenic DNA damage. Mutations in the lacI transgene of skin DNA were measured. BaP and BPDE elevated mutant frequency, DNA adducts, and cell damage over untreated and acetone-treated mice. BPDE-DNA adducts peaked within 30 min of exposure and DNA adducts, formed after application of both BaP and BPDE, declined rapidly with time. As the dose of BaP increased (4 to 64 microg), DNA adducts, mutant frequency, and cell damage increased in a dose-dependent manner. TPA applied after BaP and BPDE further increased mutant frequency, DNA adducts, and cell damage, while variably affecting mitotic index and other measures of cell proliferation. TPA became less effective at increasing mitotic index as the dose of BaP increased, although all measures of cell proliferation, taken together, increased. The most effective production of DNA adducts and mutations occurred when the carcinogen was applied simultaneously with or within 1 hr of TPA. Mutations induced by BPDE were predominantly base substitutions: of these base substitutions, 35% were G:C --> A:T transitions, and 36% were G:C --> T:A and 29% G:C --> C:G transversions. Approximately 88% of all mutations and 100% of base substitutions were at G:C sites; 60% of all mutations and 70% of the base substitution mutations occurred at CpG sites. A:T --> G:C transitions were not found. All of the single-base deletions were at G:C base pairs.

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