Chemoprevention of carcinogen-DNA adducts and chronic degenerative diseases

Alberto Izzotti, Francesco D'Agostini, Maria Bagnasco, Leonardo Scatolini, Alessandra Rovida, Roumen M. Balansky, Carmelo F. Cesarone, Silvio De Flora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Molecular dosimetry techniques were exploited in order to assess the efficacy of experimental chemoprevention assays and to evaluate the involvement of DNA alterations, not only in cancer but also in other chronic degenerative diseases. In agreement with other protective effects previously observed in the same animal models, the thiol N-acetylcysteine (NAC) totally prevented or significantly reduced the formation of carcinogen-DNA adducts in three experimental systems in rats. Thus, as assessed by 32P postlabeling, supplement of the diet with NAC decreased both deoxyguanosine-C8- aminofluorene adducts (butanol enrichment) and deoxyguanosine-N2- acetylaminofluorene adducts (nuclease P1 enrichment) formed in rat liver following dietary administration of 2-acetylaminofluorene for 3 weeks. DNA adducts were detected by synchronous fluorescence spectrophotometry in rat liver, lung, heart, and testis following a daily i.t. instillation of benzo(a)pyrene for 3 consecutive days. The whole-body exposure of rats to mainstream cigarette smoke for 40 consecutive days resulted in the appearance of DNA adducts in heart, lung, and aorta, whereas no adduct was detected by synchronous fluorescence spectrophotometry in liver, brain, and testis. Multiple DNA adducts in the aorta were also measured by 32P postlabeling. Administration of NAC by gavage inhibited the formation of DNA adducts in all organs of rats treated with benzo(a)pyrene or exposed to cigarette smoke. It is of interest that a single chemopreventive agent can display a broad- spectrum protective ability. The selective localization of DNA adducts in different organs depends on pharmacokinetics, metabolic capacity, DNA repair efficiency, and cell proliferation rate. Whereas inhibition by NAC of DNA adducts in testis can be correlated with its demonstrated ability to prevent dominant lethal mutations, we raise the hypothesis that DNA adducts in lung, heart, and aorta may be pathogenetically associated with lung cancer, cardiomyopathies, and arteriosclerosis, respectively. In order to explore the involvement of molecular and biochemical alterations in human arteriosclerosis, we started an extensive collaborative project and report here preliminary data showing the presence of DNA adducts in aorta smooth muscle cells obtained from arteriosclerotic patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Research
Issue number7 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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