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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine is a potent mutagen in the mouse small intestine.

Mutations in long lived stem cells are critical events in carcinogenesis. The Dlb-1 assay detects intestinal stem cell mutation at the Dlb-1 locus in Dlb-1a/b heterozygous mice by visualizing mutated clones of epithelial cells in situ which do not bind the lectin Dolichos biflorus agglutinin. We have used this assay to show that the food-derived heterocyclic amine 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) is a potent intestinal mutagen when administered either i.p. or p.o. This contrasts with the inactivity of the structurally related mutagen 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline in the assay which we have described previously. Immunocytochemical localization of the P-450 enzyme CYP1A2, which is responsible for the primary activation of these mutagens, shows that in untreated mice it is present in liver hepatocytes and in occasional villus epithelial cells but is absent from the target intestinal stem cell population. In addition, liver microsomes, unlike intestinal microsomes, were able to convert PhIP to the proximate mutagen N-hydroxy-PhIP. CYP1A2 immunoreactivity in beta-napthoflavone-induced animals was elevated in liver hepatocytes and increased to a lesser extent in duodenal villus epithelial cells. Treatment with beta-napthoflavone produced an unexpected 46% decrease in the number of Dlb-1 mutations in response to PhIP. Following treatment with PhIP, there was no difference in the number of Dlb-1 locus mutations between the proximal and distal ends of the small intestine in uninduced animals, indicating that the bile duct is unlikely to be responsible for transport of mutation inducing metabolites of PhIP to the small intestine. Our results demonstrate that metabolic activation of an indirect acting genotoxic agent can occur at a site other than the target tissue, and absence of the enzymes required for activation of a mutagen does not necessarily protect that tissue from its genotoxic effects.[1]


  1. 2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine is a potent mutagen in the mouse small intestine. Brooks, R.A., Gooderham, N.J., Zhao, K., Edwards, R.J., Howard, L.A., Boobis, A.R., Winton, D.J. Cancer Res. (1994) [Pubmed]
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