Benzene-induced genotoxicity in mice in vivo detected by the alkaline comet assay: reduction by CYP2E1 inhibition

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The myelotoxic and genotoxic effects of benzene have been related to oxidative DNA damage after metabolism by CYP2E1. Single cell gel electrophoresis (alkaline comet assay) detects DNA damage and may thus be a convenient method for the study of benzene genotoxicity. Benzene exposure to NMRI mice as a single oral gavage at 40, 200 or 450 mg/kg resulted in dose-related DNA damage indicated by an increased comet tail length of peripheral blood lymphocytes and bone marrow nucleated cells sampled 6 h after exposure. After a dose of 40 mg/kg, there was a 1.6-fold increase of 'tail length' in bone marrow nucleated cells in comparison with the control (p < 0.01). There was no significant increase in DNA damage in peripheral blood lymphocytes in the same animals. At 200 mg/kg, the tail length was 4.8-fold and 4.0-fold increased in the two cell types, respectively (p < 0.01). At 450 mg/kg, the tail length was further increased to 5.4-fold and 6.6-fold of the control values, respectively (p < 0.01). Pretreatment with propylene glycol (5 microliters/g b.wt., twice with a 60-min interval), a selective CYP2E1 inhibitor, reduced the increase in the tail length by about half at all doses in both cell types (p < 0.01). By comparing our data with those from genotoxicity studies on benzene using other methods, we conclude that the 'alkaline comet assay' is a sensitive method to detect DNA damage induced by benzene. We also infer that CYP2E1 contributes, at least partly, to the formation of the 'comet'-inducing metabolites in the chosen cell types.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)213-9
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 1996

    Research areas

  • Animals, Benzene, Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1, Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors, Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System, DNA, DNA Damage, Male, Mice, Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating, Propylene Glycol, Propylene Glycols

ID: 156510197