Although exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) occurs mostly through mixtures, hazard and risk assessment are mostly based on the effects caused by individual compounds. The objective of the current study was to investigate whether interactions between PAHs occur, focusing on gene expression (as measured by cDNA microarrays) and DNA adduct formation. The effects of benzo[a]pyrene or dibenzo[a,h]anthracene (DB[a,h]A) alone and in binary mixtures with another PAH (DB[a,h]A, benzo[b]fluoranthene, fluoranthene or dibenzo[a,l]pyrene) were investigated using precision-cut rat liver slices. All compounds significantly modulated the expression of several genes, but overlap between genes affected by the mixture and by the individual compounds was relatively small. All mixtures showed an antagonistic response on total gene expression profiles. Moreover, at the level of individual genes, mostly antagonism was evident, with additivity and synergism observed for only a few genes. As far as DNA adduct formation is concerned, the binary mixtures generally caused antagonism. The effects in liver slices suggest a lower carcinogenic potency of PAH mixtures than estimated based on additivity of individual compounds.
Staal, Y. C., Pushparajah, D. S., van Herwijnen, M. H., Gottschalk, R. W., Maas, L. M., Ioannides, C., van Schooten, F. J., & van Delft, J. H. (2008). Interactions between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in binary mixtures: effects on gene expression and DNA adduct formation in precision-cut rat liver slices. Mutagenesis, 23(6), 491-499. https://doi.org/10.1093/mutage/gen041