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Nucleic Acids Res. 2005 Jun 21;33(11):3513-20. Print 2005.

Polyamines stimulate the formation of mutagenic 1,N2-propanodeoxyguanosine adducts from acetaldehyde.

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  • 1Section on Molecular Neurobiology, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH 5625 Fishers Lane, Room 3S32, MSC 9412, Bethesda, MD 20952-9412, USA.


Alcoholic beverage consumption is associated with an increased risk of upper gastrointestinal cancer. Acetaldehyde (AA), the first metabolite of ethanol, is a suspected human carcinogen, but the molecular mechanisms underlying AA carcinogenicity are unclear. In this work, we tested the hypothesis that polyamines could facilitate the formation of mutagenic alpha-methyl-gamma-hydroxy-1,N2-propano-2'-deoxyguanosine (Cr-PdG) adducts from biologically relevant AA concentrations. We found that Cr-PdG adducts could be formed by reacting deoxyguanosine with muM concentrations of AA in the presence of spermidine, but not with either AA or spermidine alone. The identities of the Cr-PdG adducts were confirmed by both liquid and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Using a novel isotope-dilution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry assay, we found that in the presence of 5 mM spermidine, AA concentrations of 100 microM and above resulted in the formation of Cr-PdG in genomic DNA. These AA levels are within the range that occurs in human saliva after alcoholic beverage consumption. We also showed that spermidine directly reacts with AA to generate crotonaldehyde (CrA), most likely via an enamine aldol condensation mechanism. We propose that AA derived from ethanol metabolism is converted to CrA by polyamines in dividing cells, forming Cr-PdG adducts, which may be responsible for the carcinogenicity of alcoholic beverage consumption.

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