Generation of free radicals and induction of DNA adducts by activation of heterocyclic aromatic amines via different metabolic pathways in vitro

H.J.J. Moonen*, J.J. Briedé, J.M.S. van Maanen, J.C.S. Kleinjans, T.M.C.M. de Kok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Generation of free radicals and induction of DNA adducts by activation of heterocyclic aromatic amines via different metabolic pathways in vitro.

Moonen HJ, Briede JJ, van Maanen JM, Kleinjans JC, de Kok TM.

Department of Health Risk Analysis and Toxicology, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Food-derived heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCAs) have proved to be carcinogenic in both rodents and nonhuman primates. Two different metabolic pathways are suggested for the metabolic activation of HCA. The hepatic pathway proceeds via a two-step process involving N-hydroxylation by cytochrome P4501A2 and subsequent O-acetylation by N-acetyltransferase-2. An alternative pathway may be of particular interest in extrahepatic tissues and proceeds via one-electron oxidation catalyzed by prostaglandin H synthase (PHS), rendering free-radical metabolites. In this study, we investigated the metabolic activation of two HCAs, 2-amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline (IQ) and 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), by two different enzyme systems in vitro, generating different primary and secondary reactive metabolites. Rat liver S9 mix and PHS were used as the activating system and represent the hepatic and extrahepatic pathways, respectively. Electron-spin resonance spectroscopy showed that both IQ and PhIP exerted inhibiting effects on PHS-mediated formation of hydroxyl radicals during the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins. Evidence for the formation of HCA free radicals was presented in an indirect way by the formation of glutathione-derived thiyl radicals, with purified PHS as the activating system. Activation by S9 mix did not result in the formation of detectable radical metabolites, showing that the two metabolic routes primarily led to the formation of different metabolites. In all electron-spin resonance experiments, IQ appeared to be more effective than PhIP. In contrasts, DNA adduct analysis by means of (32)P-postlabeling showed similar adduct patterns for S9 and PHS in single-stranded and double-stranded salmon testes DNA after incubation with PhIP, indicating the ultimate formation of a common reactive intermediate. For IQ, activation by PHS led to an additional adduct spot that was not present after S9 activation. Furthermore, activation of IQ resulted in higher adduct levels compared with PhIP for both activation pathways. Overall, adduct levels were higher in single-stranded DNA than double-stranded DNA. Our results showed that the hepatic and extrahepatic pathways resulted in different primary metabolites, while the ultimate formation of a similar reactive intermediate for PhIP, possibly an arylnitrenium ion, suggested that both pathways could play an important role in the onset of carcinogenesis. Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-293
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

Cite this