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Chem Biol Interact. 1992 Jan;81(1-2):197-208.

Cigarette smoke-induced DNA damage in cultured human lung cells: role of hydroxyl radicals and endonuclease activation.

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Department of Occupational Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping, Sweden.


Cigarette smoke can cause DNA single strand breaks in cultured human lung cells (T. Nakayama et al., Nature, 314 (1985) 462-464) but the mechanisms behind this DNA damage have not been clearly elucidated. In the present study we have investigated the possibility that one of the major constituents in cigarette smoke, hydroquinone, may be important for mediating smoke-induced DNA damage in the human epithelial lung cell line, A 549, and the mechanisms behind this damage. Cells were exposed to cigarette smoke, hydrogen peroxide, or hydroquinone, in the absence and presence of different inhibitors, and the resulting DNA damage was assessed either as DNA single strand break formation or formation of the oxidative DNA adduct, 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine. It was found that (i) exposure to cigarette smoke, hydrogen peroxide or hydroquinone causes a rapid decrease in the intracellular thiol level and a considerable DNA single strand break formation, (ii) the formation of DNA single strand breaks in cells exposed to cigarette smoke is inhibited by catalase, dimethylthiourea, and o-phenantroline, suggesting that hydroxyl radicals generated from iron-catalyzed hydrogen peroxide dissociation are involved in the DNA damage, (iii) hydroquinone causes considerable DNA strand break formation that is blocked by aurintricarboxylic acid, an inhibitor of endonuclease activation, and by BAPTA, an intracellular calcium chelator, (iv) addition of hydroquinone to a smoke condensate greatly enhances its ability to cause DNA single strand breaks, and (v) smoke, but not hydroquinone, causes formation of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine, a DNA damage product induced by the action of hydroxyl radicals on the DNA base, deoxyguanosine. These findings suggest that the ability of cigarette smoke to cause DNA single strand breaks in cultured lung cells is due to mechanisms involving hydroxyl radical attack on DNA and endonuclease activation. They also suggest that hydroquinone is an important contributor to the DNA damaging effect of cigarette smoke on human lung cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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