Asbestos surface provides a niche for oxidative modification.

Department of Pathology and Biological Responses, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.
Cancer Science (Impact Factor: 3.48). 09/2011; 102(12):2118-25. DOI: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2011.02087.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Asbestos is a potent carcinogen associated with increased risks of malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer in humans. Although the mechanism of carcinogenesis remains elusive, the physicochemical characteristics of asbestos play a role in the progression of asbestos-induced diseases. Among these characteristics, a high capacity to adsorb and accommodate biomolecules on its abundant surface area has been linked to cellular and genetic toxicity. Several previous studies identified asbestos-interacting proteins. Here, with the use of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry, we systematically identified proteins from various lysates that adsorbed to the surface of commercially used asbestos and classified them into the following groups: chromatin/nucleotide/RNA-binding proteins, ribosomal proteins, cytoprotective proteins, cytoskeleton-associated proteins, histones and hemoglobin. The surfaces of crocidolite and amosite, two iron-rich types of asbestos, caused more protein scissions and oxidative modifications than that of chrysotile by in situ-generated 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal. In contrast, we confirmed the intense hemolytic activity of chrysotile and found that hemoglobin attached to chrysotile, but not silica, can work as a catalyst to induce oxidative DNA damage. This process generates 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine and thus corroborates the involvement of iron in the carcinogenicity of chrysotile. This evidence demonstrates that all three types of asbestos adsorb DNA and specific proteins, providing a niche for oxidative modification via catalytic iron. Therefore, considering the affinity of asbestos for histones/DNA and the internalization of asbestos into mesothelial cells, our results suggest a novel hypothetical mechanism causing genetic alterations during asbestos-induced carcinogenesis.

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    ABSTRACT: Few people expected that asbestos, a fibrous mineral, would be carcinogenic to humans. In fact, asbestos is a definite carcinogen in humans, causing a rare but aggressive cancer called malignant mesothelioma (MM). Mesothelial cells line the three somatic cavities and thus do not face the outer surface, but reduce the friction among numerous moving organs. MM has several characteristics: extremely long incubation period of 30-40 years after asbestos exposure, difficulty in clinical diagnosis at an early stage, and poor prognosis even under the current multimodal therapies. In Japan, 'Kubota shock' attracted considerable social attention in 2005 for asbestos-induced mesothelioma and, thereafter, the government enacted a law to provide the people suffering from MM a financial allowance. Several lines of recent evidence suggest that the major pathology associated with asbestos-induced MM is local iron overload, associated with asbestos exposure. Preclinical studies to prevent MM after asbestos exposure with iron reduction are in progress. In addition, novel target genes in mesothelial carcinogenesis have been discovered with recently recognized mesothelioma-prone families. Development of an effective preventive strategy is eagerly anticipated because of the long incubation period for MM.
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