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Carcinogenesis. 1992 Aug;13(8):1319-24.

Ascorbate is the principal reductant of chromium(VI) in rat lung ultrafiltrates and cytosols, and mediates chromium-DNA binding in vitro.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755.


Chromium(VI) reductase activity was measured in ultrafiltrates of rat lung after various pretreatments in vitro at 37 degrees C and pH 7.0. Pretreatment of ultrafiltrates with L-ascorbate oxidase (EC, which specifically eliminated ascorbate, blocked approximately 95% of chromium(VI) reductase activity in ultrafiltrates. Preincubation of ultrafiltrates with heat-denatured ascorbate oxidase or the sulfhydryl-blocking agent N-ethylmaleimide (NEM) had no significant effect on Cr(VI) reductase activity. In rat lung cytosols, L-ascorbate oxidase blocked approximately 95% and NEM blocked approximately 15% of Cr(VI) reductase activity. The extent of inhibition of Cr(VI) reductase activity in cytosols by L-ascorbate oxidase was significantly decreased to approximately 75% after addition of 1.0 mM NADPH. When Cr(VI) was incubated with salmon sperm nuclei suspended in rat lung cytosol for 15 min, Cr became bound to nuclear DNA. This Cr-DNA binding was completely inhibited by preincubation of rat lung cytosols with L-ascorbate oxidase and inhibited approximately 60% by preincubation with NEM. Taken together these data suggest that ascorbate and/or ascorbate-dependent factors are the principal reductants of Cr(VI) in both ultrafiltrates and cytosols prepared from rat lung and ascorbate-dependent metabolism of Cr(VI) results in Cr binding to nuclear DNA in vitro. Although sulfhydryl-containing factors and NADPH-dependent factors only make a minor contribution to Cr(VI) reduction in rat lung cytosols, sulfhydryls may be significantly involved in the binding of Cr to nuclear DNA.

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