Journal Article

Prenatal Exposure to Flavonoids: Implication for Cancer Risk

Kimberly Vanhees, Laura de Bock, Roger W. L. Godschalk, Frederik J. van Schooten and Sahar Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn-Khosrovani

in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 120, issue 1, pages 59-67
Published in print March 2011 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online December 2010 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfq388
Prenatal Exposure to Flavonoids: Implication for Cancer Risk

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Flavonoids are potent antioxidants, freely available as high-dose dietary supplements. However, they can induce DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) and rearrangements in the mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) gene, which are frequently observed in childhood leukemia. We hypothesize that a deficient DSB repair, as a result of an Atm mutation, may reinforce the clastogenic effect of dietary flavonoids and increase the frequency of Mll rearrangements. Therefore, we examined the effects of in vitro and transplacental exposure to high, but biological amounts of flavonoids in mice with different genetic capacities for DSB repair (homozygous/heterozygous knock-in for human Atm mutation [Atm-ΔSRI] vs. wild type [wt]). In vitro exposure to genistein/quercetin induced higher numbers of Mll rearrangements in bone marrow cells of Atm-ΔSRI mutant mice compared with wt mice. Subsequently, heterozygous Atm-ΔSRI mice were placed on either a flavonoid-poor or a genistein-enriched (270 mg/kg) or quercetin-enriched (302 mg/kg) feed throughout pregnancy. Prenatal exposure to flavonoids associated with higher frequencies of Mll rearrangements and a slight increase in the incidence of malignancies in DNA repair-deficient mice. These data suggest that prenatal exposure to both genistein and quercetin supplements could increase the risk on Mll rearrangements especially in the presence of compromised DNA repair.

Keywords: genistein; quercetin; Mll translocations; infant leukemia; in utero; Atm gene

Journal Article.  5970 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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