Thioarenes, sulfur-containing polycyclic aromatic compounds, are environmental contaminants suspected of posing human health risks. In this study, 5-nitrobenzo[b]naphtho[2,1-d]-thiophene (5-nitro-BNT), a nitrated-thioarene, was examined for its mutagenicity, metabolism and subsequent formation of DNA adducts. 5-Nitro-BNT was weakly mutagenic in Salmonella typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100 without Aroclor-1254-induced rat liver S9 (S9), and its activity was increased in the presence of S9. Anaerobic metabolism of 5-nitro-BNT by S9 or xanthine oxidase (XO) produced one major metabolite, identified as 5-amino-BNT by NMR, MS, and UV spectroscopy and by comparison with an authentic standard. Aerobic S9 metabolism of 5-nitro-BNT produced a major metabolite, identified as trans-9,10-dihydroxy-9,10-dihydro-5-nitro-BNT (5-nitro-BNT-9,10-diol). Also present was a minor amount of 5-amino-BNT and trans-9,10-dihydroxy-9,10-dihydro-5-amino-BNT (5-amino-BNT-9,10-diol). DNA adduct analyses were performed using the 32P-postlabeling assay and reversed-phase HPLC. Three major XO-derived calf thymus DNA adducts were detected. On the basis of their chromatographic mobilities, two adducts were identified as reaction products of 5-nitro-BNT with 2′-deoxyguanosine and one adduct with 2′-deoxyadenosine. Incorporation of allopurinol (a specific XO inhibitor) in the incubation mixture resulted in loss of all three adducts, confirming enzymatic mediation by XO. Aerobic S9 activation of 5-nitro-BNT with calf thymus DNA produced three adducts. On the basis of their chromatographic mobilities, two were identified as reaction products of 5-nitro-BNT with 2′-deoxyguanosine and one with 2′-deoxyadenosine. Incorporation of 1-aminobenzotriazole (a P450 inhibitor) in the incubation mixture resulted in a loss of these adducts, confirming enzymatic mediation by P450. Aerobic S9-catalyzed metabolism of 5-nitro-BNT-9,10-diol produced the same DNA adducts as observed with 5-nitro-BNT. Aerobic S9-catalyzed metabolism of 5-amino-BNT-9,10-diol produced the same deoxyadenosine-derived DNA adducts as observed with 5-nitro-BNT and 5-nitro-BNT-9,10-diol. These results provide additional information that both ring oxidation and nitroreduction are involved in the metabolism, DNA adduct formation and mutagenicity of 5-nitro-BNT.
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