Mechanisms by which aniline exposure elicits splenotoxicity, especially a tumorigenic response, are not well-understood. Earlier, we have shown that aniline exposure leads to oxidative DNA damage and up-regulation of OGG1 and NEIL1/2 DNA glycosylases in rat spleen. However, the contribution of endonuclease III homolog 1 (NTH1) and apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1 (APE1) in the repair of aniline-induced oxidative DNA damage in the spleen is not known. This study was, therefore, focused on examining whether NTH1 and APE1 contribute to the repair of oxidative DNA lesions in the spleen, in an experimental condition preceding tumorigenesis. To achieve this, male SD rats were subchronically exposed to aniline (0.5 mmol/kg/day via drinking water for 30 days), while controls received drinking water only. By quantitating the cleavage products, the activities of NTH1 and APE1 were assayed using substrates containing thymine glycol (Tg) and tetrahydrofuran, respectively. Aniline treatment led to significant increases in NTH1- and APE1-mediated BER activity in the nuclear extracts of spleen of aniline-treated rats compared to the controls. NTH1 and APE1 mRNA expression in the spleen showed 2.9- and 3.2-fold increases, respectively, in aniline-treated rats compared to the controls. Likewise, Western blot analysis showed that protein expression of NTH1 and APE1 in the nuclear extracts of spleen from aniline-treated rats was 1.9- and 2.7-fold higher than the controls, respectively. Immunohistochemistry indicated that aniline treatment also led to stronger immunoreactivity for both NTH1 and APE1 in the spleens, confined to the red pulp areas. These results, thus, show that aniline exposure is associated with induction of NTH1 and APE1 in the spleen. The increased repair activity of NTH1 and APE1 could be an important mechanism for the removal of oxidative DNA lesions. These findings thus identify a novel mechanism through which NTH1 and APE1 may regulate the repair of oxidative DNA damage in aniline-induced splenic toxicity.Highlights
▸ Aniline exposure led to greater NTH1- and APE1-mediated BER activity in rat spleen. ▸ Greater mRNA and protein levels of NTH1 and APE1 were also observed in spleen. ▸ Increased BER activity is an adaptive response against ROS-induced DNA damage. ▸ Increased repair activity is important in the removal of oxidative DNA lesions.