(S)-N′-Nitrosonornicotine [(S)-NNN] and racemic NNN are powerful oral and esophageal carcinogens in the F344 rat, whereas (R)-NNN has only weak activity. Tumor formation in these tissues of rats treated with racemic NNN was far greater than the sum of the activities of the individual enantiomers. We hypothesized that metabolites of (R)-NNN enhanced levels of DNA adducts produced by (S)-NNN. A test of that hypothesis necessitated the development of a novel liquid chromatography-nanoelectrospray ionization-high resolution tandem mass spectrometry method for the analysis of O6-[4-(3-pyridyl)-4-oxobut-1-yl]-2′-deoxyguanosine (O6-POB-dGuo), a highly mutagenic DNA adduct not previously quantified in rats treated with NNN. The new method, with a limit of detection of 6.5 amol for diluted standard and 100 amol for DNA samples, was applied in this study. Groups of nine F344 rats were treated with doses as follows: 7 ppm (R)-NNN, 7 ppm (S)-NNN, and 14 ppm racemic NNN; 14 ppm (R)-NNN, 14 ppm (S)-NNN, and 28 ppm racemic NNN; or 28 ppm (R)-NNN, 28 ppm (S)-NNN, and 56 ppm racemic NNN for 5 weeks, and tissues were analyzed for DNA adducts. We found statistically significant, but modest, synergistic enhancement of levels of O6-POB-dGuo in the esophagus but not the oral cavity of rats treated with racemic NNN (low and median doses only) compared to the sum of the amounts formed in these tissues of rats treated with (S)-NNN or (R)-NNN. There was no synergy in the formation of other POB-DNA adducts of NNN in oral cavity and esophagus, nor was there any evidence for synergy in nasal respiratory and olfactory epithelium, lung, or liver. Our results provide the first quantitation of O6-POB-dGuo in DNA from tissues of rats treated with NNN and evidence for synergy in DNA adduct formation as one possible mechanism by which (R)-NNN enhances the carcinogenicity of (S)-NNN in rats.
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© 2015 American Chemical Society.