Effect of dimethyl sulfoxide on the genotoxicity and metabolism of benzene in vivo

Wagida A. Anwar, William W. Au, M. S. Legator, V. M.Sadagopa Ramanujam

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24 Scopus citations


The mechanism of the genotoxidty and metabolism of benzene (BZ) was investigated by using a free-radical scavenger, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), to investigate the free radical mechanism in BZ metabolism. The presence of chromosomal breakage expressed as micronuclei (MN) in bone marrow polychromatic erythrocytes (PCE) and the presence of several BZ metabohtes in the urine were monitored. Adult male ICR mice were exposed orally to DMSO after oral exposure to BZ (440 mg/kg b.w.). DMSO was administered either in different concentrations (1.25, 3.75 or 12.5% given at a volume of 0.01 ml/gm b.w.) or at different intervals after BZ exposure (1, 3 or 5 h). Each group consisted of five mice. It was found that the BZ-induced MN frequency was reduced by DMSO from 48.8 ± 5.6 (SEM) to 2.6 ± 0.7 per 1000 PCE when DMSO (12.5%) was administered at 1 h after BZ exposure (P < 0.01), to 3.4 ± 0.8 at 3 h (P < 0.01) and to 36.2 ± 12.1 at 5 h (P < 0.01). The reduction of the clastogenk effect of BZ by DMSO was also dependent upon the DMSO doses. The MN frequency was significantly reduced from 48.8 ± 5.6 to 29.4 ± 10.9 with 1.25% DMSO (P < 0.01) to 20 ± 7.6 with 3.75% (P < 0.01) and to 2.6 ± 0.7 with 12.5% DMSO (P < 0.01). The presence of different metabolites of BZ such as hydroquinone, catechol, trans-trans muconk acid (MA, the oxidized form of trans-trans muconaldehyde, ttM), and total and conjugated phenol was evaluated in the urine of the exposed mice using HPLC. Among these metabolites, the quantity of MA was found to have the closest positive correlation with the MN frequency (P < 0.007). Phenol but not the other monitored metabolites was also positively correlated with MN frequency (P < 0.03). Thus, our data show that the formation of genotoxic metabolites from BZ probably involves hydroxyl radicals and ttM as well as phenol are likely to be responsible for the clastogenk effect of benzene in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-445
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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