Lung DNA adducts detected in human smokers are unrelated to typical polyaromatic carcinogens

Jamal M. Arif, Carolyn Dresler, Margie L. Clapper, C. Gary Gairola, Cidambi Srinivasan, Ronald A. Lubet, Ramesh C. Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Several studies have reported the presence of DNA adducts derived from benzo(a)pyrene and other polyaromatics by 32P-postlabeling/TLC by measuring diagonal radioactive zones (DRZs) in lung tissues of human smokers. However, our experimental studies in rodent models, which used modified chromatographic conditions to obtain distinct adduct spots, suggested that cigarette smoke-related lipophilic DNA adducts may not be derived from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) or aromatic amines. In the present study, we have performed similar analysis of human lung tissues to study the chemical nature of DNA adducts. Fifty human lung tissues from cancer patients (ages 42-83 years) with active, ex-, or never-smoking status were analyzed for highly lipophilic DNA adducts by nuclease P1- and n-butanol enrichment-mediated 32P-postlabeling assay. All DNA samples yielded low to highly intense adduct DRZs when adducts were resolved by PEI-cellulose TLC in standard high-salt, high-urea solvents. Adduct burden ranged from 6.6 to 2930 per 10 10 nucleotides. However, when adducts were resolved in a different solvent system comprising of high-salt, high-urea in direction 3 and dilute ammonium hydroxide in direction 4, which retained adducts derived from PAHs and aromatic amines on the chromatograms, this yielded no detectable adducts from human lung DNAs. Furthermore, analysis of human lung DNAs mixed with reference adducted DNAs in multisolvent systems confirmed an absence of PAH- and aromatic amine-derived adducts in human smoker lung DNA. To determine the origin of cigarette smoke-associated DNA adducts, calf thymus DNA was incubated with formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, which are known to be present in cigarette smoke in significant quantities. Analysis of purified DNAs by 32P- postlabeling resulted in adduct DRZs in the aldehyde-modified DNAs when adducts were resolved in standard urea-containing solvents, but no adducts were detected when the ammonium hydroxide-based solvent was used, suggesting that even nonpolyaromatic electrophiles can result in adduct DRZs on the chromatograms similar to those from PAH metabolites. Taken together, our data demonstrate that cigarette smoke-associated lung DNA adducts appear on chromatograms as DRZs, consistent with the literature, but they are not related to PAHs and aromatic amines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-299
Number of pages5
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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