Perturbation of cytochrome P450, generation of oxidative stress and induction of DNA damage in Cyprinus carpio exposed in situ to potable surface water

Andrea Sapone, Bianca Gustavino, Monica Monfrinotti, Donatella Canistro, Massimiliano Broccoli, Laura Pozzetti, Alessandra Affatato, Luca Valgimigli, Giorgio Cantelli Forti, Gian Franco Pedulli, Gian Luigi Biagi, Sherif Z. Abdel-Rahman, Moreno Paolini

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Scopus citations


    Epidemiological evidence suggests a link between consumption of chlorinated drinking water and various cancers. Chlorination of water rich in organic chemicals produces carcinogenic organochlorine by-products (OBPs) such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. Since the discovery of the first OBP in the 1970s, there have been several investigations designed to determine the biological effects of single chemicals or small artificial OBP combinations. However, there is still insufficient information regarding the general biological response to these compounds, and further studies are still needed to evaluate their potential genotoxic effects. In the current study, we evaluated the effect of three drinking water disinfectants on the activity of cytochrome P450 (CYP)-linked metabolizing enzymes and on the generation of oxidative stress in the livers of male and female Cyprinus carpio fish (carp). The fish were exposed in situ for up 20 days to surface water obtained from the Trasmene lake in Italy. The water was treated with 1-2 mg/L of either sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) or chlorine dioxide (ClO 2) as traditional disinfectants or with a relatively new disinfectant product, peracetic acid (PAA). Micronucleus (MN) frequencies in circulating erythrocytes from the fish were also analysed as a biomarker of genotoxic effect. In the CYP-linked enzyme assays, a significant induction (up to a 57-fold increase in the deethylation of ethoxyresorufin with PAA treatment) and a notable inactivation (up to almost a 90% loss in hydroxylation of p-nitrophenol with all disinfectants, and of testosterone 2β-hydroxylation with NaClO) was observed in subcellular liver preparations from exposed fish. Using the electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy radical-probe technique, we also observed that CYP-modulation was associated with the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In addition, we found a significant increase in MN frequency in circulating erythrocytes after 10 days of exposure of fish to water treated with ClO 2, while a non-significant six-fold increase in MN frequency was observed with NaClO, but not with PAA. Our data suggest that the use of ClO 2 and NaClO to disinfect drinking water could generate harmful OBP mixtures that are able to perturb CYP-mediated reactions, generate oxidative stress and induce genetic damage. These data may provide a mechanistic explanation for epidemiological studies linking consumption of chlorinated drinking water to increased risk of urinary, gastrointestinal and bladder cancers.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)143-154
    Number of pages12
    JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
    Issue number1-2
    StatePublished - Jan 10 2007


    • Cancer
    • Cyprinus carpio
    • Cytochrome p450
    • Drinking water by-products
    • Micronucleus
    • Organochlorine by-products
    • ROS

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Genetics
    • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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