Biochemical and biophysical research communications

Analysis of trichloroethylene-induced global DNA hypomethylation in hepatic L-02 cells by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry.

PMID 24632203


Trichloroethylene (TCE), a major occupational and environmental pollutant, has been recently associated with aberrant epigenetic changes in experimental animals and cultured cells. TCE is known to cause severe hepatotoxicity; however, the association between epigenetic alterations and TCE-induced hepatotoxicity are not yet well explored. DNA methylation, catalyzed by enzymes known as DNA methyltransferases (DNMT), is a major epigenetic modification that plays a critical role in regulating many cellular processes. In this study, we analyzed the TCE-induced effect on global DNA methylation and DNMT enzymatic activity in human hepatic L-02 cells. A sensitive and quantitative method combined with liquid chromatography and electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) was validated and utilized for assessing the altered DNA methylation in TCE-induced L-02 cells. Quantification was accomplished in multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode by monitoring a transition pair of m/z 242.1 (molecular ion)/126.3 (fragment ion) for 5-mdC and m/z 268.1/152.3 for dG. The correlation coefficient of calibration curves between 5-mdC and dG was higher than 0.9990. The intra-day and inter-day relative standard derivation values (RSD) were on the range of 0.53-7.09% and 0.40-2.83%, respectively. We found that TCE exposure was able to significantly decrease the DNA methylation and inhibit DNMT activity in L-02 cells. Our results not only reveal the association between TCE exposure and epigenetic alterations, but also provide an alternative mass spectrometry-based method for rapid and accurate assessment of chemical-induced altered DNA methylation in mammal cells.