Biochemical and biophysical research communications

DNA damage and repair in mammalian cells exposed to p-hydroxyphenylpyruvic acid.

PMID 16263080


Tyrosinemia type 1 (HT1) is an autosomal recessive disorder of the tyrosine metabolism in which the fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase enzyme is defective. This disease is clinically heterogeneous and a chronic and acute form is discerned. Characteristic of the chronic form is the development of cellular hepatocarcinoma. Although p-hydroxyphenylpyruvic acid (pHPPA) is used as one of the diagnostic markers of this disease, it was suggested that it is unlikely to be involved in the pathophysiology of HT1 as it is present in other disorders that does not have hepatorenal symptoms. It was the aim of this study to investigate the possible effect of pHPPA on DNA damage and repair in mammalian cells. The comet assay was used to establish the genotoxicity of pHPPA in human peripheral blood lymphocytes and isolated rat hepatocytes after their exposure to pHPPA. At first glance the damage to DNA caused by pHPPA seemed reparable in both cell types, however, after challenging the DNA repair capacity of metabolite-treated cells with treatment with H(2)O(2), a marked impairment in the DNA repair capability of these cells was observed. We suggest that the main effect of pHPPA is the long-term impairment of the DNA repair machinery rather than the direct damage to DNA and that this effect of pHPPA, together with the other characteristic metabolites, e.g., FAA and MAA, causes cellular hepatocarcinoma to develop in the chronic form of HT1.

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4-Hydroxyphenylpyruvic acid, 98%