Genotoxicity of three food processing contaminants in transgenic mice expressing human sulfotransferases 1A1 and 1A2 as assessed by the in vivo alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis assay

Environ Mol Mutagen. 2015 Oct;56(8):709-14. doi: 10.1002/em.21963. Epub 2015 Aug 13.


The food processing contaminants 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and 2,5 dimethylfuran (DMF) are potentially both mutagenic and carcinogenic in vitro and/or in vivo, although data on DMF is lacking. The PHIP metabolite N-hydroxy-PhIP and HMF are bioactivated by sulfotransferases (SULTs). The substrate specificity and tissue distribution of SULTs differs between species. A single oral dose of PhIP, HMF or DMF was administered to wild-type (wt) mice and mice expressing human SULT1A1/1A2 (hSULT mice). DNA damage was studied using the in vivo alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) assay. No effects were detected in wt mice. In the hSULT mice, PhIP and HMF exposure increased the levels of DNA damage in the liver and kidney, respectively. DMF was not found to be genotoxic. The observation of increased DNA damage in hSULT mice compared with wt mice supports the role of human SULTs in the bioactivation of N-hydroxy-PhIP and HMF in vivo.

Keywords: DNA cross linking; DNA strand break; comet assay; furan derivative; heterocyclic amine; sulfotransferase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Arylsulfotransferase / genetics*
  • Comet Assay / methods*
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
  • DNA Damage
  • Food Contamination*
  • Food Handling
  • Furaldehyde / administration & dosage
  • Furaldehyde / analogs & derivatives
  • Furaldehyde / toxicity
  • Furans / administration & dosage
  • Furans / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / administration & dosage
  • Imidazoles / toxicity
  • Male
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutagenicity Tests / methods*


  • Furans
  • Imidazoles
  • 5-hydroxymethylfurfural
  • 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo(4,5-b)pyridine
  • Furaldehyde
  • 2,5-dimethylfuran
  • Arylsulfotransferase
  • SULT1A1 protein, human
  • SULT1A2 protein, human