DNA damage in lung epithelial cells isolated from rats exposed to quartz: role of surface reactivity and neutrophilic inflammation

G.R.M.M. Haenen, P.J.A. Borm, A.M. Knaapen, C. Albrecht, A. Becker, D. Hohr, A. Winzer, R.P.F. Schins*

*Corresponding author for this work

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DNA damage in lung epithelial cells isolated from rats exposed to quartz: role of surface reactivity and neutrophilic inflammation.

Knaapen AM, Albrecht C, Becker A, Hohr D, Winzer A, Haenen GR, Borm PJ, Schins RP.

Institut fur umweltmedizinische Forschung at the University of Dusseldorf, Department of Particle Toxicology, Auf'm Hennekamp 50, 40225 Dusseldorf, Germany.

Respirable quartz has been classified as a human lung carcinogen (IARC, 1997). However, the mechanisms involved in quartz-induced carcinogenesis remain unclear. The aim of the present study was to investigate acute DNA damage in epithelial lung cells from rats exposed to quartz. Since surface reactivity is considered to play a crucial role in the toxicity of quartz, the effect of surface modifying agents polyvinylpyridine-N-oxide (PVNO) and aluminium lactate (AL) was evaluated. Therefore, rats were instilled with quartz (DQ12, 2 mg/rat) or quartz treated with PVNO or AL. After 3 days animals were killed and brochoalveolar lavage (BAL) was performed to evaluate inflammatory cell influx. BAL-fluid levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alkaline phosphatase (AP) and total protein were used as lung damage markers. Neutrophil activation was assessed by myeloperoxidase (MPO) measurement, and total antioxidant capacity of the BAL-fluid was determined using the TEAC (trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity) assay. Lung epithelial cells were isolated and DNA strand breakage was determined by single cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay). DNA damage was significantly increased in epithelial cells from rats instilled with DQ12, whereas no enhanced DNA strand breakage was observed when quartz was treated with PVNO or AL. Total protein, LDH and TEAC were increased in rats treated with native quartz, and this was inhibited by both coatings. A significant correlation between neutrophil numbers and MPO levels was observed, indicating neutrophil activation. Inhibition of DNA damage by both coatings was paralleled by a reduction of neutrophil influx as well as MPO activity. In this study we provide evidence that modification of the particle surface prevents DNA strand breakage in epithelial lung cells from quartz-exposed rats. Furthermore, the present data show the feasibility of our in vivo model to evaluate the role of inflammation, antioxidant status, and cytotoxicity in particle-induced DNA damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1120
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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