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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2013 Jun 1;269(2):81-8. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2013.03.008. Epub 2013 Mar 21.

Reduction of arsenite-enhanced ultraviolet radiation-induced DNA damage by supplemental zinc.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.


Arsenic is a recognized human carcinogen and there is evidence that arsenic augments the carcinogenicity of DNA damaging agents such as ultraviolet radiation (UVR) thereby acting as a co-carcinogen. Inhibition of DNA repair is one proposed mechanism to account for the co-carcinogenic actions of arsenic. We and others find that arsenite interferes with the function of certain zinc finger DNA repair proteins. Furthermore, we reported that zinc reverses the effects of arsenite in cultured cells and a DNA repair target protein, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1. In order to determine whether zinc ameliorates the effects of arsenite on UVR-induced DNA damage in human keratinocytes and in an in vivo model, normal human epidermal keratinocytes and SKH-1 hairless mice were exposed to arsenite, zinc or both before solar-simulated (ss) UVR exposure. Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase activity, DNA damage and mutation frequencies at the Hprt locus were measured in each treatment group in normal human keratinocytes. DNA damage was assessed in vivo by immunohistochemical staining of skin sections isolated from SKH-1 hairless mice. Cell-based findings demonstrate that ssUVR-induced DNA damage and mutagenesis are enhanced by arsenite, and supplemental zinc partially reverses the arsenite effect. In vivo studies confirm that zinc supplementation decreases arsenite-enhanced DNA damage in response to ssUVR exposure. From these data we can conclude that zinc offsets the impact of arsenic on ssUVR-stimulated DNA damage in cells and in vivo suggesting that zinc supplementation may provide a strategy to improve DNA repair capacity in arsenic exposed human populations.

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