Journal Article

Homologous Recombination Initiated by Benzene Metabolites: A Potential Role of Oxidative Stress

Louise M. Winn

in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 72, issue 1, pages 143-149
Published in print March 2003 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online March 2003 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfg008
Homologous Recombination Initiated by Benzene Metabolites: A Potential Role of Oxidative Stress

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Benzene is a ubiquitous pollutant and known human leukemogen. Benzene can be enzymatically bioactivated to reactive intermediates that can lead to increased formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS formation can directly induce DNA double-strand breaks, and also oxidize nucleotides that are subsequently converted to double-strand breaks during DNA replication that can be repaired through homologous recombination, which is not error-free. Therefore increased DNA double-strand-break levels may induce hyper-recombination, which can lead to deleterious genetic changes. To test the hypothesis that benzene and its metabolites can initiate hyper-recombination and to investigate the potential role of ROS, a Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell line containing a neo direct repeat recombination substrate (CHO 3–6), was used to determine whether benzene or its metabolites phenol, hydroquinone, catechol, or benzoquinone initiated increased homologous recombination and whether this increase could be diminished by the coincubation of cells with the antioxidative enzyme catalase. Results demonstrated that cells exposed to benzene (1, 10, 30, or 100 μM) for 24 h did not exhibit increased homologous recombination. Increased recombination occurred with exposure to phenol (1.8-, 2.6-, or 2.9-fold), catechol (1.9-, 2-, 5-, or 3.2-fold), or benzoquinone (2.7-, 5.5-, or 6.9-fold) at 1, 10, and 30-μM concentrations, respectively, and with exposure to hydroquinone at 10 and 30 μM concentrations (1.5–1.9-fold; p < 0.05). Studies investigating the effects of catalase demonstrated that increased homologous recombination due to exposure to phenol, hydroquinone, catechol, or benzoquinone (10 μM) could be completely abolished by the addition of catalase. These data support the hypothesis that increased homologous recombination mediates benzene-initiated toxicity and supports a role for oxidative stress in this mechanism.

Keywords: benzene; reactive oxygen species; oxidative stress; homologous recombination

Journal Article.  4456 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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