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Chem Biol Interact. 1996 Mar 8;100(1):77-84.

A 32P-postlabeling method for the detection of adducts in the DNA of human fibroblasts exposed to sulfur mustard.

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Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Toxicology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, 01655-0126 USA.


Since the toxicities of sulfur mustard are attributed to DNA alkylation, levels of DNA modification in exposed cells should correlate with the intensity of exposure. We have found that 32P-postlabeling can be used successfully to detect the major adduct, 7-hydroxyethylthio- ethyldeoxyguanosine 5'-phosphate (HETEpdG), that is formed in DNA by sulfur mustard. This method has been used to establish a correlation between exposure and adduct formation in human fibroblasts grown in cell culture and exposed to sulfur mustard concentrations between 2.5 and 15 microM. DNA was recovered from these cells using a salt precipitation method to remove proteins and was found to have an HETEpdG content which increased linearly with SM concentration. This relationship shows that one HETEpdG per 10(6) nucleotides is produced at a SM concentration of 2.3 microM. Growth of fibroblast cells, assayed by trypan-blue exclusion, is somewhat inhibited by 2 microM SM, indicating that 32P-postlabeling has the requisite sensitivity to detect adducts at levels of SM that are minimally toxic.

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