Although it is well established that ionizing radiation and benzene are epidemiologically linked to acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the underlying mechanisms are not understood. We have shown that ?-radiation can induce a persisting genomic instability in the clonal descendants of hemopoietic stem cells manifested as a high frequency of nonclonal chromosome and chromatid aberrations. A strikingly similar instability is shown after exposure to the benzene metabolite hydroquinone. The CBA/Ca but not the C57BL/6 genotype is susceptible to the induction of instability by both ionizing radiation and hydroquinone and exposure of CBA/Ca, but not C57BL/6, mice to either agent is known to be associated with the development of AML. The results are consistent with the proposal that chromosomal instability induced by either agent may contribute to AML development by increasing the number of genetic lesions in hemopoietic cells. Genotype-dependent chromosomal instability can be induced by hydroquinone doses that are not acutely stem cell toxic and this may have important implications for current assessment of safe levels of exposure to benzene as well as for mechanistic understanding of the hemotoxic and leukemogenic effects.
- γ radiation
- Chromosomal instability
- Environmental carcinogenesis/toxicology
- Leukemias and lymphomas