Weekly i.m. injections of the polycyclic hydrocarbon carcinogens, 7,12-dimethylbenz(a,h)anthracene (DMBA; 25 mg/kg/injection) and benzo(a)pyrene (50 mg/kg/injection) were given for a period of up to 22 weeks to chickens (SC strain) beginning at age 4 weeks. Atherosclerotic lesions of the abdominal aorta occurred more frequently and were larger in the DMBA- and benzo(a)pyrene-treated birds than in controls. These lesions were proliferative in character as indicated by a higher [3H]thymidine autoradiographic labeling index compared to the underlying medial cells of the aorta. Measurements of serum cholesterol in DMBA-treated birds showed no differences from controls. Although both carcinogens accelerated the development of atherosclerotic plaques, DMBA was more potent than benzo(a)pyrene.

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This investigation was supported by Center Programs of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Grant ES 00260 and National Cancer Institute Grant CA 13343.

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