Oxidative DNA damage and its repair in rat spleen following subchronic exposure to aniline

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The mechanisms by which aniline exposure elicits splenotoxic response, especially the tumorigenic response, are not well-understood. Splenotoxicity of aniline is associated with iron overload and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which can cause oxidative damage to DNA, proteins and lipids (oxidative stress). 8-Hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) is one of the most abundant oxidative DNA lesions resulting from ROS, and 8-oxoguanine glycosylase 1 (OGG1), a specific DNA glycosylase/lyase enzyme, plays a key role in the removal of 8-OHdG adducts. This study focused on examining DNA damage (8-OHdG) and repair (OGG1) in the spleen in an experimental condition preceding a tumorigenic response. To achieve that, male Sprague–Dawley rats were subchronically exposed to aniline (0.5 mmol/kg/day via drinking water for 30 days), while controls received drinking water only. Aniline treatment led to a significant increase in splenic oxidative DNA damage, manifested as a 2.8-fold increase in 8-OHdG levels. DNA repair activity, measured as OGG1 base excision repair (BER) activity, increased by ˜1.3 fold in the nuclear protein extracts (NE) and ˜1.2 fold in the mitochondrial protein extracts (ME) of spleens from aniline-treated rats as compared to the controls. Real-time PCR analysis for OGG1 mRNA expression in the spleen revealed a 2-fold increase in expression in aniline-treated rats than the controls. Likewise, OGG1 protein expression in the NEs of spleens from aniline-treated rats was ˜1.5 fold higher, whereas in the MEs it was ˜1.3 fold higher than the controls. Aniline treatment also led to stronger immunostaining for both 8-OHdG and OGG1 in the spleens, confined to the red pulp areas. It is thus evident from our studies that aniline-induced oxidative stress is associated with increased oxidative DNA damage. The BER pathway was also activated, but not enough to prevent the accumulation of oxidative DNA damage (8-OHdG). Accumulation of mutagenic oxidative DNA lesions in the spleen following exposure to aniline could play a critical role in the tumorigenic process.

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