The tobacco-specific nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) is a powerful lung carcinogen in animal models and is considered a causative factor for lung cancer in tobacco users. NNK is stereoselectively and reversibly metabolized to 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL), which is also a lung carcinogen. Both NNK and NNAL undergo metabolic activation by α-hydroxylation on their methyl groups to form pyridyloxobutyl and pyridylhydroxybutyl DNA base and phosphate adducts, respectively. α-Hydroxylation also occurs on the α-methylene carbons of NNK and NNAL to produce methane diazohydroxide, which reacts with DNA to form methyl DNA base adducts. DNA adducts of NNK and NNAL are important in their mechanisms of carcinogenesis. In this study, we characterized and quantified methyl DNA phosphate adducts in the lung of rats treated with 5 ppm of NNK, (S)-NNAL, or (R)-NNAL in drinking water for 10, 30, 50, and 70 weeks, by using a novel liquid chromatography-nanoelectrospray ionization-high resolution tandem mass spectrometry method. A total of 23, 21, and 22 out of 32 possible methyl DNA phosphate adducts were detected in the lung tissues of rats treated with NNK, (S)-NNAL, and (R)-NNAL, respectively. Levels of the methyl DNA phosphate adducts were 2290-4510, 872-1120, and 763-1430 fmol/mg DNA, accounting for 15-38%, 8%, and 5-9% of the total measured DNA adducts in rats treated with NNK, (S)-NNAL, and (R)-NNAL, respectively. The methyl DNA phosphate adducts characterized in this study further enriched the diversity of DNA adducts formed by NNK and NNAL. These results provide important new data regarding NNK- and NNAL-derived DNA damage and new insights pertinent to future mechanistic and biomonitoring studies of NNK, NNAL, and other chemical methylating agents.
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*E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: (612) 625-4925. Fax: (612) 624-3869. ORCID Irina Stepanov: 0000-0001-5140-8944 Stephen S. Hecht: 0000-0001-7228-1356 Funding This study was supported by National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant CA-81301. Mass spectrometry analyses were carried out in the Analytical Biochemistry Shared Resource of the Masonic Cancer Center, supported in part by NCI grant CA-77598. Salary support for P.W.V. was provided by NCI grant CA-211256. Notes The authors declare no competing financial interest.