Purpose: To determine whether cigarette smoke condensate (CSC) without metabolic activation induces direct DNA double strand breaks (DSB) in the G1 phase of various radiosensitive mutants of CHO cells and whether these breaks display collateral hypersensitivity to CSC with respect to cell killing.
Materials & methods: We treated the G1-phase cultures of wild-type and DNA repair deficient mutants of CHO cells with various concentrations of CSC and examined the cell survival by colony formation assay and the induction of DNA double strand breaks by constant field gel electrophoresis as well as the phophorylated histone H2-A variant X (gamma-H2AX) assay.
Results: Gel analysis and gamma-H2AX focus assay showed significantly fewer, but still detectable levels of DSB per cell after CSC treatment compared to ionizing radiation (IR) exposures, even when equitoxic radiation exposures were delivered at a low dose rate over the same 8-hour exposure used for CSC treatments. None of the three non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) deficient mutants were remarkably hypersensitive to CSC compared to wild-type cells. In contrast, UV-1 cells that are hypersensitive to several base damage and cross-linking agents showed a higher sensitivity to CSC compared to the other CHO cell lines.
Conclusions: DNA DSB produced directly by CSC are not principally responsible for its cytotoxicity. Further, the present study does not rule out the possibility that some of these lesions may secondarily result in DSB, such as may occur during impeded DNA replication and whose repair may require systems other than NHEJ.