Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 234, Issue 1, pp 143–151

Mechanisms of neutrophil-induced DNA damage in respiratory tract epithelial cells

  • Ad M. Knaapen
  • Roel P.F. Schins
  • Dünya Polat
  • Andrea Becker
  • Paul J.A. Borm


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) released by neutrophils have been suggested to play an important role in cancer development. Since the mechanisms underlying this effect in the respiratory tract are still unclear, we evaluated DNA damage induced by neutrophils in respiratory tract epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo. For in vitro studies, rat lung epithelial cells (RLE) were co-incubated with activated neutrophils, neutrophil-conditioned medium, or hydrogen peroxide. For in vivo studies, we considered the human nose as a target organ, comparing neutrophilic inflammation in the nasal lavage fluid with the oxidative DNA lesion 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) in epithelial cells obtained by nasal brush. Our in vitro data show that human neutrophils are able to induce both 8-OHdG and strand breaks in DNA from RLE cells. Our data also suggest that DNA damage induced by neutrophils is inhibited when neutrophil-derived H2O2 is consumed by myeloperoxidase. In contrast, in the nose no association between neutrophil numbers and 8-OHdG was found. Therefore, it remains unclear whether neutrophils pose a direct genotoxic risk for the respiratory tract epithelium during inflammation, and more in vivo studies are needed to elucidate the possible association between neutrophils and genotoxicity in the lung.

DNA damage genotoxicity 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine inflammation nasal brush nasal lavage neutrophils reactive oxygen species respiratory tract epithelial cells strand breaks 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ad M. Knaapen
    • 1
  • Roel P.F. Schins
    • 1
  • Dünya Polat
    • 1
  • Andrea Becker
    • 1
  • Paul J.A. Borm
    • 1
  1. 1.Particle Research CoreInstitute for Environmental Health (IUF)DüsseldorfGermany

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