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Mutagenesis. 2007 Mar;22(2):111-6. Epub 2007 Jan 20.

Growth kinetics in MCF-7 cells modulate benzo[a]pyrene-induced CYP1A1 up-regulation.

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Biomedical Sciences Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK.


Pro-carcinogens, such as benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), that are exogenous ligands of the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor may influence the susceptibility of target-cell populations through the up-regulation of cytochrome P450 (CYP) mixed function oxidases. We examined whether the growth kinetics of MCF-7 cells might determine the level of up-regulation of CYP1A1, CYP1A2 or CYP1B1 by B[a]P, and whether this could then influence subsequent levels of DNA damage. Cell cultures manipulated to be G(0)/G(1)-phase concentrated, S-phase concentrated or G(2)/M-phase concentrated were treated with B[a]P and the expression levels of CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP1B1, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1A [CDKN1A (P21(WAF1/CIP1))], B-cell leukaemia/lymphoma-2 (BCL-2), and Bcl-2-associated X levels were determined. Levels of DNA damage were measured as DNA single-strand breaks (SSBs) by the alkaline single-cell gel electrophoresis (comet) assay or as DNA adducts by (32)P-postlabelling analysis. B[a]P-induced up-regulation of CYP1A1 was >100-fold in S-phase-concentrated cells, but in G(0)/G(1)-phase- or G(2)/M-phase-concentrated cultures up-regulation occurred to a significantly lower extent. Consistent with this, B[a]P-treated S-phase-concentrated cultures exhibited markedly up-regulated P21(WAF1/CIP1), higher levels of dose-related increases in DNA SSBs, and increased DNA adduct levels presumably as a result of CYP1A1-mediated activation of B[a]P to B[a]P-diol-epoxide compared with the cultures enriched for the other cell cycle phases. Growth kinetics in vitro may be an important predeterminant of susceptibility to an exogenous pro-carcinogen in short-term test systems and these findings have important implications when extrapolating such results to a particular target-cell population in vivo.

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