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Cancer Res. 2009 Jun 1;69(11):4827-34. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-4416.

Intestinal mucosal inflammation leads to systemic genotoxicity in mice.

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Departments of Molecular Toxicology, University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine and School of Public Health, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


Inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, substantially increases the risk of colorectal cancer. However, mechanisms linking mucosal inflammation to the sequence of dysplasia are incompletely understood. Whereas studies have shown oxidative damage to the colon, this study tests whether genotoxicity is elicited systemically by acute and chronic intestinal inflammation. In this study, genotoxic endpoints were assessed in peripheral leukocytes (DNA single- and double-stranded breaks and oxidative DNA damage) and normochromatic erythrocytes (micronuclei) during chemical or immune-mediated colitis. During three consecutive cycles of intestinal inflammation induced by dextran sulfate sodium administration, genotoxicity to peripheral leukocytes and erythroblasts was detected in both acute and chronic phases of dextran sulfate sodium-induced inflammation. Reactive oxygen species-mediated oxidative stress and DNA damage was confirmed with positive 8-oxoguanine and nitrotyrosine staining in peripheral leukocytes. Levels of DNA damage generally decreased during remission and increased during treatment, correlating with clinical symptoms and systemic inflammatory cytokine levels. In Galphai2(-/-) and interleukin-10(-/-) transgenic mice susceptible to immune-mediated colitis and inflammation-associated adenocarcinoma, similar levels of peripheral leukocyte and erythroblast genotoxicity were also observed. Moreover, this systemic genotoxicity was observed in mice with subclinical inflammation, which was further elevated in those with severe mucosal inflammation. We propose that mucosal inflammation, by eliciting substantial and ongoing systemic DNA damage, contributes early on to genetic instability necessary for progression to inflammatory bowel disease-associated dysplasia and the development of cancer.

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