Mechanisms of 2-Butoxyethanol–Induced Hemangiosarcomas

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Chronic exposure to 2-butoxyethanol increased liver hemangiosarcomas in male mice. The mechanism for the selective induction of hemangiosarcomas by 2-butoxyethanol is unknown but has been suggested to occur through non–DNA-reactive mechanisms. The occurrence of liver hemangiosarcomas in male mice has been linked to oxidative damage subsequent to RBC hemolysis and iron deposition and activation of macrophages (Kupffer cells) in the liver, events that exhibit a threshold in both animals and humans. 2-Butoxyethanol is metabolized to 2-butoxyacetaldehyde and 2-butoxyacetic acid, and although the aldehyde metabolite is short lived, the potential exists for this metabolite to cause DNA damage. The present study examined whether 2-butoxyethanol and its metabolites, 2-butoxyacetaldehyde and 2-butoxyacetic acid, damaged mouse endothelial cell DNA using the comet assay. No increase in DNA damage was observed following 2-butoxyethanol (1–10mM), 2-butoxyacetaldehyde (0.1–1.0mM), or 2-butoxyacetic acid (1–10mM) in endothelial cells after 2, 4, or 24 h of exposure. Additional studies examined the involvement of hemolysis and macrophage activation in 2-butoxyethanol carcinogenesis. DNA damage was produced by hemolyzed RBCs (10 × 106, 4 h), ferrous sulfate (0.1–1.0μM; 2–24 h), and hydrogen peroxide (50–100μM; 1–4 h) in endothelial cells. Hemolyzed RBCs also activated macrophages, as evidenced by increased tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α, while neither 2-butoxyethanol nor butoxyacetic acid increased TNF-α from macrophages. The effect of activated macrophages on endothelial cell DNA damage and DNA synthesis was also studied. Coculture of endothelial cells with activated macrophages increased endothelial cell DNA damage after 4 or 24 h and increased endothelial cell DNA synthesis after 24 h. These data demonstrate that 2-butoxyethanol and related metabolites do not directly cause DNA damage. Supportive evidence also demonstrated that damaged RBCs, iron, and/or products from macrophage activation (possibly reactive oxygen species) produce DNA damage in endothelial cells and that activated macrophages stimulate endothelial cell proliferation. These events coupled together provide the events necessary for the induction of hemangiosarcomas by 2-butoxyethanol.

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