Journal Article

Nickel (II) enhances benzo[<i>a</i>]pyrene diol epoxide-induced mutagenesis through inhibition of nucleotide excision repair in human cells: a possible mechanism for nickel (II)-induced carcinogenesis

Wenwei Hu, Zhaohui Feng and Moon-shong Tang

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 25, issue 3, pages 455-462
Published in print March 2004 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online March 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Nickel (II) enhances benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide-induced mutagenesis through inhibition of nucleotide excision repair in human cells: a possible mechanism for nickel (II)-induced carcinogenesis

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Nickel (II), a ubiquitous environmental and industrial contaminant, is a well-known human carcinogen, particularly in human lung cancer. Although by itself it is a weak mutagen, nickel (II) is able to significantly enhance the genotoxicity of other mutagens and carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and ultraviolet light. Certain human populations, especially cigarette smokers, are frequently exposed to both nickel (II) and PAHs. To understand the interplay of nickel (II) and PAHs in mutagenesis and human carcinogenesis, we used a shuttle vector mutagenicity assay to examine the effect of nickel (II) on (±) anti-7β, 8α-dihydroxy-9α, 10α-epoxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydroxybenzo[a]pyrene (BPDE)-induced mutagenesis in human cells. BPDE is an activated metabolite of benzo[a]pyrene (BP), a major carcinogen in cigarette smoke. The shuttle vector pSP189 modified with BPDE was transfected into human cells with and without nickel (II) exposure. We found that nickel (II) exposure significantly enhanced BPDE-induced mutation frequency, but did not change BPDE-induced mutational spectrum in the supF gene of pSP189 plasmids replicated in nucleotide excision repair (NER)-proficient human cells. However, the enhancing effect of nickel (II) on BPDE-induced mutation frequency was not observed in NER-deficient human XPA cells. We also found that nickel (II) exposure of human cells did not change the spontaneous mutation frequency of the supF gene in NER-proficient or NER-deficient human cells, indicating that nickel (II) did not affect the replication fidelity in human cells. Using a plasmid containing a luciferase reporter gene and a host cell reactivation assay, we have found that nickel (II) exposure greatly inhibited the repair of BPDE–DNA adducts in NER-proficient but not in NER-deficient cells. Together these results strongly suggest that nickel (II) can greatly enhance the mutagenicity and genotoxicity of PAHs by inhibiting the NER pathway in human cells, and this may constitute an important mechanism for nickel (II)-induced human carcinogenesis.

Keywords: BP, benzo[a]pyrene; BPDE, (±) anti-7β, 8α-dihydroxy-9α, 10α-epoxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydroxybenzo[a]pyrene; CPD, cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer; hprt, hypoxanthine (guanine) phosphoribosyl-transferase; NER, nucleotide excision repair; PAH, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon; UV, ultraviolet

Journal Article.  6606 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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