• Oestrogenic compounds and oxidative stress (in human sperm and lymphocytes in the Comet assay)

      Anderson, Diana; Baumgartner, Adolf; Brinkworth, Martin H.; Schmid, Thomas E.; Cemeli, Eduardo; Wood, John M. (2003)
      Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced by a wide variety of chemicals and physiological processes in which enzymes catalyse the transfer of electrons from a substrate to molecular oxygen. The immediate products of such reactions, superoxide anion radicals and hydrogen peroxide can be metabolised by enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), respectively, and depending on its concentration by Vitamin C (Vit C). Under certain circumstances the ROS form highly reactive hydroxyl radicals. We examined human sperm and lymphocytes after treatment with six oestrogenic compounds in the Comet assay, which measures DNA damage, and observed that all caused damage in both cell types. The damage was diminished in nearly all cases by catalase, and in some instances by SOD and Vit C. This response pattern was also seen with hydrogen peroxide. This similarity suggests that the oestrogen-mediated effects could be acting via the production of hydrogen peroxide since catalase always markedly reduced the response. The variable responses with SOD indicate a lesser involvement of superoxide anion radicals due to SOD-mediated conversion of superoxide to hydrogen peroxide generally causing a lower level of DNA damage than other ROS. The variable Vit C responses are explained by a reduction of hydrogen peroxide at low Vit C concentrations and a pro-oxidant activity at higher concentrations. Together these data provide evidence that inappropriate exposure to oestrogenic compounds could lead to free-radical mediated damage. It is believed that the observed activities were not generated by cell free cell culture conditions because increased responses were observed over and above control values when the compounds were added, and also increasing dose¿response relationships have been found after treatment with such oestrogenic compounds in previously reported studies.