• Journal Article

Genetic susceptibility to benzene-induced toxicity: role of NADPH: quinone oxidoreductase-1


Bauer, A. K., Faiola, B., Abernethy, D. J., Marchan, R., Pluta, L. J., Wong, V. A., ... Recio, L. (2003). Genetic susceptibility to benzene-induced toxicity: role of NADPH: quinone oxidoreductase-1. Cancer Research, 63(5), 929-935.


Enzymes that activate and detoxify benzene are likely genetic determinants of benzene-induced toxicity.NAD(P)H: quinone oxidoreductase-1 (NQO1) detoxifies benzoquinones, proposed toxic metabolites of benzene. NQO1 deficiency in humans is associated with an increased risk of leukemia, specifically acute myelogenous leukemia, and benzene poisoning. We examined the importance of NQO1 in benzene-induced toxicity by hypothesizing that NQO1-deficient (NQO1-/-) mice are more sensitive to benzene than mice with wild-type NQO1 (NQO1+/+; 129/Sv background strain). Male and female NQO1-/- and NQO1+/+ mice were exposed to inhaled benzene (0, 10, 50, or 100 ppm) for 2 weeks, 6 h/day, 5 days/week. Micronucleated peripheral blood cells were counted to assess genotoxicity. Peripheral blood counts and bone marrow histology were used to assess hematotoxicity and myelotoxicity. p21 mRNA levels in bone marrow cells were used as determinants of DNA damage response. Female NQO1-/- mice were more sensitive (6-fold) to benzene-induced genotoxicity than the female NQO1+/+ mice. Female NQO1-/- mice had a 9-fold increase (100 versus 0 ppm) in micronucleated reticulocytes compared with a 3-fold increase in the female NQO1+/+ mice. However, the induced genotoxic response in male mice was similar between the two genotypes (> or = 10-fold increase at 100 ppm versus 0 ppm). Male and female NQO1-/- mice exhibited greater hematotoxicity than NQO1+/+ mice. p21 mRNA levels were induced significantly in male mice (>10-fold) from both strains and female NQO1-/- mice (> 8-fold), which indicates an activated DNA damage response. These results indicate that NQO1 deficiency results in substantially greater benzene-induced toxicity. However, the specific patterns of toxicity differed between the male and female mice