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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1992 Mar;113(1):126-32.

DMBA-induced cytotoxicity in lymphoid and nonlymphoid organs of B6C3F1 mice: relation of cell death to target cell intracellular calcium and DNA damage.

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University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy Toxicology Program, Albuquerque 87131.


The purpose of these studies was to evaluate the effects of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) on intracellular free Ca2+ and DNA fragmentation in lymphoid cells obtained from the spleen, thymus, and Peyer's patches (PPs) of female B6C3F1 mice. Previous studies in our laboratories have shown that DMBA is cytotoxic to these lymphoid organs and that calcium homeostasis may be impaired following DMBA treatment. The results of the present studies show that a daily oral 14-day exposure of mice to DMBA produced a dose-dependent decrease in the number of viable cells recovered from the spleen, PPs, and thymus. Intracellular levels of Ca2+ were elevated in the spleen and PPs of mice receiving 140 mg/kg of DMBA. Extensive DNA fragmentation was detected in cells obtained from the spleen and PPs, as well as from the thymus. The thymus and PPs demonstrated DNA fragmentation at significantly lower doses of DMBA (42 mg/kg) than did the spleen (140 mg/kg). While cells obtained from the thymus did not demonstrate an elevation in Ca2+ produced by DMBA, in vitro exposure of isolated thymocytes to 3-30 microM DMBA for 4 hr produced significant elevation of intracellular Ca2+. A "ladder-like" pattern of DNA fragmentation was seen by agarose gel electrophoresis of DNA obtained from thymus cells treated with DMBA in vitro, suggesting DNA degradation by endonucleases. Collectively, these studies suggest that DMBA produces lymphotoxicity through an apoptosis-like mechanism involving fragmentation of genomic DNA by Ca(2+)-activated enzymes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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