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Chem Res Toxicol. 2002 Mar;15(3):400-7.

UVA light-induced DNA cleavage by isomeric methylbenz[a]anthracenes.

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Department of Chemistry, Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi 39217, USA.


UVA light-induced DNA single strand cleavage by a set of 12 monomethyl substituted benz[a]anthracenes (MBAs) along with their parent compound, benz[a]anthracene (BA), and the potent carcinogen, 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA), was studied. On the basis of the relative DNA single strand photocleavage efficiency of the fourteen compounds, they are divided into three groups: (1) strong DNA cleavers, 4-MBA, 5-MBA, 6-MBA, 8-MBA, 9-MBA, 10-MBA, and BA; (2) medium DNA cleavers, 1-MBA, 2-MBA, 3-MBA, and 11-MBA; and (3) weak DNA cleavers, 7-MBA, 12-MBA, and DMBA. The relative DNA photocleavage efficiency parallels very well with the energy gap between the highest-occupied-molecular-orbital (HOMO) and the lowest-unoccupied-molecular-orbital (LUMO) of each MBA, indicating that the DNA cleavage is related to their excited-state properties. The 7 and 12 positions of BA are two unique sites. Methyl substitution at either 7 or 12 (or both) positions lowers the HOMO-LUMO gap and greatly diminishes the DNA photocleavage efficiency. UVA light-induced photodegradation of selected MBAs reveals that methyl substitution at either 7 or 12 (or both) positions greatly enhances the degradation rate. Photodegradation of 7-MBA, 12-MBA, and DMBA yields products that are much less effective in mediating DNA cleavage. Photodegradation of other MBAs, exemplified by 5-MBA, yields a photooxidation product 5-MBA-7,12-quinone which is relatively stable under light and is a stronger DNA photocleaver than 5-MBA itself. The higher efficiency of DNA photocleavage for MBAs with methyl substitution at positions other than 7 or 12 is due, at least in part, to the formation of 7,12-quinone. Light-induced DNA single strand cleavage efficiency for several MBAs parallels the light-induced toxicity observed by other research groups, suggesting that light-induced DNA cleavage of MBAs are the source for phototoxicity. Since some PAHs such as coal tar are used commercially as creams, therapeutic agents, or ointments, or those roofers and asphalt workers that are subject to contamination with PAHs, the combination of PAHs and light (in the skin) may present a greater health risk to humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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