Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are suspect human lung carcinogens and can be metabolically activated to remote quinones, for example, benzo[a]pyrene-1,6-dione (B[a]P-1,6-dione) and B[a]P-3,6-dione by the action of either P450 monooxygenase or peroxidases, and to non-K region o-quinones, for example B[a]P-7,8-dione, by the action of aldo keto reductases (AKRs). B[a]P-7,8-dione also structurally resembles 4-hydroxyequilenin o-quinone. These three classes of quinones can redox cycle, generate reactive oxygen species (ROS), and produce the mutagenic lesion 8-oxo-dGuo and may contribute to PAH- and estrogen-induced carcinogenesis. We compared the ability of a complete panel of human recombinant AKRs to catalyze the reduction of PAH o-quinones in the phenanthrene, chrysene, pyrene, and anthracene series. The specific activities for NADPH-dependent quinone reduction were often 100-1000 times greater than the ability of the same AKR isoform to oxidize the cognate PAH-trans-dihydrodiol. However, the AKR with the highest quinone reductase activity for a particular PAH o-quinone was not always identical to the AKR isoform with the highest dihydrodiol dehydrogenase activity for the respective PAH-trans-dihydrodiol. Discrete AKRs also catalyzed the reduction of B[a]P-1,6-dione, B[a]P-3,6-dione, and 4-hydroxyequilenin o-quinone. Concurrent measurements of oxygen consumption, superoxide anion, and hydrogen peroxide formation established that ROS were produced as a result of the redox cycling. When compared with human recombinant NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase (NQO1) and carbonyl reductases (CBR1 and CBR3), NQO1 was a superior catalyst of these reactions followed by AKRs and last CBR1 and CBR3. In A549 cells, two-electron reduction of PAH o-quinones causes intracellular ROS formation. ROS formation was unaffected by the addition of dicumarol, suggesting that NQO1 is not responsible for the two-electron reduction observed and does not offer protection against ROS formation from PAH o-quinones.
© 2011 American Chemical Society