The endogenous exposome

DNA Repair (Amst). 2014 Jul:19:3-13. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2014.03.031. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


The concept of the Exposome is a compilation of diseases and one's lifetime exposure to chemicals, whether the exposure comes from environmental, dietary, or occupational exposures; or endogenous chemicals that are formed from normal metabolism, inflammation, oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, infections, and other natural metabolic processes such as alteration of the gut microbiome. In this review, we have focused on the endogenous exposome, the DNA damage that arises from the production of endogenous electrophilic molecules in our cells. It provides quantitative data on endogenous DNA damage and its relationship to mutagenesis, with emphasis on when exogenous chemical exposures that produce identical DNA adducts to those arising from normal metabolism cause significant increases in total identical DNA adducts. We have utilized stable isotope labeled chemical exposures of animals and cells, so that accurate relationships between endogenous and exogenous exposures can be determined. Advances in mass spectrometry have vastly increased both the sensitivity and accuracy of such studies. Furthermore, we have clear evidence of which sources of exposure drive low dose biology that results in mutations and disease. These data provide much needed information to impact quantitative risk assessments, in the hope of moving towards the use of science, rather than default assumptions.

Keywords: DNA damage; Endogenous exposome; Mutagenesis; Risk assessment; Stable isotopes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidant Response Elements / genetics*
  • DNA Adducts / drug effects
  • DNA Adducts / genetics*
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • DNA Damage / genetics*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Mutagenesis / drug effects
  • Mutagenesis / genetics*


  • DNA Adducts