Bioactivation of the tobacco carcinogens 4-aminobiphenyl (4-ABP) and 2-amino-9H-pyrido[2,3-b]indole (AαC) in human bladder RT4 cells

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Occupational and tobacco exposure to aromatic amines (AAs) including 4-aminobiphenyl (4-ABP) and 2-naphthylamine (2-NA) are associated with bladder cancer (BC) risk. Several epidemiological studies have also reported a possible role for structurally related heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs) formed in tobacco smoke or cooked meats with BC risk. We had screened for DNA adducts of 4-ABP, 2-NA, and several prominent HAAs formed in tobacco smoke or grilled meats including 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), 2-amino-3,8-dimethylmidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx), and 2-amino-9H-pyrido[2,3-b]indole (AαC) in the bladder DNA of BC patients, using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. We detected DNA adducts of 4-ABP, but not adducts of the other carcinogens. In this study, we have examined the capacity of RT4 cells, an epithelial human bladder cell line, to bioactivate AAs and HAAs to DNA damaging agents, which may contribute to BC. 4-ABP and AαC formed DNA adducts, but DNA adducts of 2-NA, PhIP, and MeIQx were not detected. 4-ABP DNA adducts were formed at tenfold higher levels than AαC adducts. Pretreatment of RT4 cells with α-naphthoflavone (1–10 µM), a specific cytochrome P450 1 (CYP1) inhibitor, decreased AαC adduct formation by 50% but did not affect the level of 4-ABP adducts. However, cell pretreatment with 8-methoxypsoralen (0.1–1 µM), a potent inhibitor of CYP2A, resulted in a 90% decrease of 4-ABP DNA adducts levels. These data signify that CYP2A and CYP1A isoforms expressed in the target urothelium bioactivate 4-ABP and AαC, respectively, and may be a critical feature of aromatic amine-induced urinary bladder carcinogenesis. The bioactivation of other tobacco and environmental AAs by bladder CYPs and their ensuing bladder DNA damage warrants further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1893-1902
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Toxicology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • 2-Amino-9H-pyrido[2,3-b]indole
  • 4-Aminobiphenyl
  • Aromatic amines
  • Bladder cancer
  • DNA adduct
  • Heterocyclic aromatic amines


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