Distribution of methyl and ethyl adducts following alkylation with monofunctional alkylating agents

Mutat Res. 1990 Jul;231(1):11-30. doi: 10.1016/0027-5107(90)90173-2.


Alkylating agents, because of their ability to react directly with DNA either in vitro or in vivo, or following metabolic activation as in the case of the dialkylnitrosamines, have been used extensively in studying the mechanisms of mutagenicity and carcinogenicity. Their occurrence is widespread in the environment and human exposure from natural and pollutant sources is universal. Since most of these chemicals show varying degrees of both carcinogenicity and mutagenicity, and exhibit compound-specific binding patterns, they provide an excellent model for studying molecular dosimetry. Molecular dosimetry defines dose as the number of adducts bound per macromolecule and relates the binding of these adducts to the human mutagenic or carcinogenic response. This review complies DNA alkylation data for both methylating and ethylating agents in a variety of systems and discusses the role these alkylation products plays in molecular mutagenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkylating Agents / metabolism
  • Alkylating Agents / pharmacology*
  • Alkylation
  • Animals
  • Carcinogenicity Tests*
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Methylation
  • Mutagenicity Tests*
  • Mutation*


  • Alkylating Agents
  • DNA