Evidence that a metabolilte of equine estrogens, 4-hydroxyequilenin, induces cellular transformation in vitro
Constantinou, Andreas I.
Bolton, J. L.
SourceChemical research in toxicology
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Estrogen replacement therapy has been correlated with an increased risk of developing hormone-dependent cancers. 4-Hydroxyequilenin (4-OHEN) is a catechol metabolite of equilenin and equilin which are components of the estrogen replacement formulation marketed under the name of Premarin (Wyeth-Ayerst). Previously, we showed that 4-OHEN autoxidizes to potent cytotoxic quinoids which can consume reducing equivalents and molecular oxygen, and cause a variety of DNA lesions, including formation of bulky stable adducts, apurinic sites, and oxidation of the phosphate-sugar backbone and purine/pyrimidine bases [Bolton, J. L., Pisha, E., Zhang, F., and Qiu, S. (1998) Chem. Res. Toxicol. 11, 1113-1127]. All of these deleterious effects could contribute to the cytotoxic/genotoxic effects of equine estrogens in vivo. In the study presented here, we studied the Oxidative and carcinogenic potential of 4-OHEN and the catechol metabolite of the endogenous estrogen, 4-hydroxyestrone (4-OHE), in the JB6 clone 41 5a and C3H 10T1/2 murine fibroblast cells. The relative ability of 4-OHEN and 4-OHE to induce oxidative stress was measured in these cells by oxidative cleavage of 2',7'-dichlorodiacylfluorosceindiacetate to dichlorofluoroscein. 4-OHEN (1 μM) displayed an increase in the level of reactive oxygen species comparable to that observed with 100 μM H2O2. In contrast, 4-OHE demonstrated antioxidant capabilities in the 5-50 μM range. With both cell lines, we assessed single-strand DNA cleavage using the comet assay and the formation of oxidized DNA bases, such as 8-oxodeoxyguanosine, utilizing the Trevigen Fpg comet assay. 4-OHEN caused single-strand breaks and oxidized bases in a dose-dependent manner in both cell lines, whereas 4-OHE did not induce DNA damage. Since oxidative stress has been implicated in cellular transformation, we used the JB6 clone 41 5a anchorage independence assay to ascertain the relative ability of 4-OHEN and 4-OHE to act as tumor promoters. 4-OHEN caused a slight but significant increase in the extent of cellular transformation at the 100 nM dosehowever, in the presence of NADH, which catalyzes redox cycling of 4-OHEN, the transformation ability of 4-OHEN was dramatically increased. 4-OHE did not induce transformation of the JB6 clone 41 5a in the 0.1-10 μM range. The initiation, promotion, and complete carcinogenic transformation potentials of both metabolites were measured in the C3H 10T1/2 cells. 4-OHEN demonstrated activity in all stages of transformation at doses of 10 nM to 1 μM, whereas 4-OHE only demonstrated promotional capabilities at the 10 μM dose. These data suggest that oxidative stress could be partially responsible for the carcinogenic effects caused by 4-OHEN and that 4-OHEN is a more potent transforming agent than 4-OHE in vitro.