Letter | Published:

Human pulmonary alveolar macrophages metabolise benzo(a)pyrene to proximate and ultimate mutagens

Naturevolume 272pages633634 (1978) | Download Citation



PULMONARY alveolar macrophages (PAM) phagocytose inhaled foreign particulates that reach the peripheral airways. Particulates engulfed by PAM are then transported by the mucociliary system up the respiratory tract past the bronchial epithelium to be expectorated and/or swallowed. Since these particulates may contain adsorbed chemical carcinogens, for example, those in tobacco smoke, and PAM have been shown to metabolise chemical carcinogens1–3, PAM may interact with the bronchial epithelium in the metabolic activation of respiratory carcinogens. We report here the metabo-lic activation of benzo(a)pyrene (B(a)P) by PAM into both a promutagen ( ± )r7,t8-dihydroxy-7,8-dihydrobenzo(a)pyrene; (7,8-diol; 50% ( + )) and an ultimate mutagen(s).

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  1. Human Tissue Studies Section, Experimental Pathology Branch, Carcinogenesis Research Program, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, 20014

    • , IH CHANG Hsu
    •  & GARY D. STONER
  2. Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, 21201

  3. Biology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 37830



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