The metabolism of benzo(a)pyrene has been investigated in cultured normal human bronchus, colon, duodenum, and esophagus obtained from the same patient. The highest total metabolism was found in bronchus and duodenum, while the highest mean binding level was observed in the bronchus followed, in order, by the esophagus, duodenum, and transverse colon. A 30-fold interindividual variation in the binding level was found in each of the four organs studied, and a positive correlation between the binding levels in bronchus, colon, and duodenum was found. In human bronchus, a positive correlation was found between level of binding of benzo(a)pyrene to DNA and the amount of both benzo(a)pyrene 7,8-diol and the combined group of 3-hydroxybenzo(a)pyrene, benzo(a)pyrene 9,10-diol, and water-soluble metabolites. A significantly higher relative amount of benzo(a)pyrene tetrols and benzo (a)pyrene 9,10-diol was formed by human bronchus compared to the gastrointestinal tissues, while a higher level of benzo(a)pyrene phenols was formed by the latter. The relative distribution of benzo(a)pyrene-DNA adducts was similar in all four organs, the major DNA adduct being formed by trans-addition of anti-7,8-dihydroxy-9,10-epoxide-7,8,9,10-tetrahydrobenzo(a)pyrene to the 2-amino group at guanine. These results indicate that the metabolism of benzo(a)pyrene by at least four different organs is qualitatively similar but that quantitative differences exist.


The project was supported in part by NIH Contract N-01-CP43237.

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