Reactive oxygen species may participate in the mutagenicity and mutational spectrum of cadmium in Chinese Hamster Ovary-K1 cells

Jia Ling Yang*, Jui-I Chao, Jin Guo Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The molecular nature of mutations induced by Cd was investigated in this study to elucidate the role of Cd in the initiation of carcinogenesis. Exposing Chinese hamster ovary (CHO)-K1 cells to cadmium acetate markedly decreased the colony-forming ability of cells and induced mutation frequency in the hypoxanthine (guanine) phosphoribosyltransferase (hprt) gene. The mutation frequency induced by Cd at LD30-LD20 doses was approximately 20 times that of untreated cells. D-Mannitol, a scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS), significantly protects cells against Cd cytotoxicity and mutagenicity. Furthermore, non-cytotoxic doses of 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole, a catalase inhibitor, potentiates Cd cytotoxicity and mutagenicity. The cellular Cd uptake ability was not altered by the combined treatment with either D-mannitol or 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole. The GSH level and the activities of GSH peroxidase, GSSG reductase, and catalase in cells treated with Cd (4 μM, 4 h) decreased to 78%, 47%, 40%, and 22% of the untreated cells, respectively. Those enzymatic activities recovered to normal levels 8 h after removing Cd. Polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing analysis of 54 independent Cd mutants revealed Cd-induced base substitutions, splice mutations, and large genomic deletions. All six types of base substitutions were observed; however, base transversions (22/27; 81%) occurred more frequently than transitions (5/27; 19%). The frequencies of mutations occurring at T·A or G·C base pairs were roughly equal. Results in this study strongly suggest that Cd mutagenicity in CHO-K1 cells is ROS-dependent. Moreover, the unique mutational spectrum induced by Cd implies that specific DNA adducts generated through the interaction of Cd-DNA and ROS may play a role in the mutational specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1360-1367
Number of pages8
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 14 Dec 1996


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