Part 3. Assessment of genotoxicity and oxidative stress after exposure to diesel exhaust from U.S. 2007-compliant diesel engines: report on 1- and 3-month exposures in the ACES bioassay.

L. M. Hallberg, J. B. Ward, C. Hernandez, B. T. Ameredes, J. K. Wickliffe, Health Review Committee HEI Health Review Committee

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4 Scopus citations


Human health hazards due to diesel exhaust (DE*) exposure have been associated with both solvent and combustion components. In the past, diesel engine exhaust components have been linked to increased mutagenicity in cultures of Salmonella typhimurium and mammalian cells (Tokiwa and Ohnishi 1986). In addition, DE has been shown to increase both the incidence of tumors and the induction of 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine adducts (8-OHdG) in ICR mice (Ichinose et al. 1997). Furthermore, DE is composed of a complex mixture of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and particulates. One such PAH, 3-nitrobenzanthrone (3-NBA), has been identified in DE and found in urban air. 3-NBA has been observed to induce micronucleus formation in DNA of human hepatoma cells (Lamy et al. 2004). The purpose of the current research, which is part of the Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES), a multidisciplinary program being carried out by the Health Effects Institute and the Coordinating Research Council, is to determine whether improvements in the engineering of heavy-duty diesel engines reduce the oxidative stress and genotoxic risk associated with exposure to DE components. To this end, the genotoxicity and oxidative stress of DE from an improved diesel engine was evaluated in bioassays of tissues from Wistar Han rats and C57BL/6 mice exposed to DE. Genotoxicity was measured as strand breaks using an alkaline-modified comet assay. To correlate possible DNA damage found by the comet assay, measurement of DNA-adduct formation was evaluated by a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to determine the levels of free 8-OHdG found in the serum of the animals exposed to DE. 8-OHdG is a specific modified base indicating an oxidative type of DNA damage to DNA nucleotides. In addition, a thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assay was used to assess oxidative stress and damage in the form of lipid peroxidation in the hippocampus region of the brains of DE-exposed animals. Results from the comet assay showed no significant differences in rats between the control and exposed groups (P = 0.53, low exposure; P = 0.92, medium exposure; P = 0.77, high exposure) after 1 month of DE exposure. There were no differences between sexes in the responses of rats to these exposures. Likewise, there were no significant differences found after 3 months of exposure. Similarly, no significant differences were found between the mice exposed for 1 and 3 months to DE, nor were any differences found between sexes. Measurements of 8-OHdG in both mice and rats showed no significant difference among DE exposure groups (P = 0.46, mice; P = 0.86, rats). In mice, measured 8-OHdG was lower in the 3-month group than the 1-month group. In rats, the inverse was true. In mice, no significant differences in the levels of lipid peroxidation, as measured by TBARS, were found between the controls and DE exposure groups (P = 0.92), nor were there any differences between sexes. In rats, comparisons between the control and low-exposure groups approached significance, but no significant differences were found between the other DE exposure groups. Additionally, in rats, there were no significant differences between the 1- and 3-month DE exposure groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-184
Number of pages22
JournalResearch report (Health Effects Institute)
Issue number166
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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