Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Nickel (II) enhances benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide-induced mutagenesis through inhibition of nucleotide excision repair in human cells: a possible mechanism for nickel (II)-induced carcinogenesis.

Authors: Hu, Wenwei; Feng, Zhaohui; Tang, Moon-Shong

Published In Carcinogenesis, (2004 Mar)

Abstract: Nickel (II), a ubiquitous environmental and industrial contaminant, is a well-known human carcinogen, particularly in human lung cancer. Although by itself it is a weak mutagen, nickel (II) is able to significantly enhance the genotoxicity of other mutagens and carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and ultraviolet light. Certain human populations, especially cigarette smokers, are frequently exposed to both nickel (II) and PAHs. To understand the interplay of nickel (II) and PAHs in mutagenesis and human carcinogenesis, we used a shuttle vector mutagenicity assay to examine the effect of nickel (II) on (+/-) anti-7beta, 8alpha-dihydroxy-9alpha, 10alpha-epoxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydroxybenzo[a]pyrene (BPDE)-induced mutagenesis in human cells. BPDE is an activated metabolite of benzo[a]pyrene (BP), a major carcinogen in cigarette smoke. The shuttle vector pSP189 modified with BPDE was transfected into human cells with and without nickel (II) exposure. We found that nickel (II) exposure significantly enhanced BPDE-induced mutation frequency, but did not change BPDE-induced mutational spectrum in the supF gene of pSP189 plasmids replicated in nucleotide excision repair (NER)-proficient human cells. However, the enhancing effect of nickel (II) on BPDE-induced mutation frequency was not observed in NER-deficient human XPA cells. We also found that nickel (II) exposure of human cells did not change the spontaneous mutation frequency of the supF gene in NER-proficient or NER-deficient human cells, indicating that nickel (II) did not affect the replication fidelity in human cells. Using a plasmid containing a luciferase reporter gene and a host cell reactivation assay, we have found that nickel (II) exposure greatly inhibited the repair of BPDE-DNA adducts in NER-proficient but not in NER-deficient cells. Together these results strongly suggest that nickel (II) can greatly enhance the mutagenicity and genotoxicity of PAHs by inhibiting the NER pathway in human cells, and this may constitute an important mechanism for nickel (II)-induced human carcinogenesis.

PubMed ID: 14604891 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: 7,8-Dihydro-7,8-dihydroxybenzo(a)pyrene 9,10-oxide/pharmacology*; Carcinogens/pharmacology*; DNA Repair/drug effects*; Humans; Mutagens/pharmacology*; Neoplasms/etiology*; Nickel/pharmacology*

to Top