• Big Blue™ rat;
  • mammary epithelial cells;
  • mutagenesis;
  • 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP);
  • S9


Epithelial cells are the primary site of carcinogenesis in most tissues, including the mammary gland. As an alternative to the study of mutation induction in whole tissues in vivo, we have established Big Blue™ transgenic rat cell lines from the mammary epithelium (BBR/ME) and the mammary stroma (BBR/MFib), to permit a comparison of their mutagenic responses to carcinogens. We previously demonstrated their responsiveness to the alkylating agent N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) (McDiarmid H et al. [2001]: Mutat Res 497:39–47). Here, we examined the responses of cultured epithelial and stromal cells to the protein pyrolysis product and mammary carcinogen 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP). Rat hepatic S9 was used as a source of bioactivation enzymes. Mutant induction (cII locus) and clonogenic survival were measured as a function of PhIP concentration. PhIP mutagenicity was observed in the fibroblast cells, but the greater toxicity of PhIP to the epithelial cells prevented a definitive evaluation of mutagenicity. Since PhIP may be detoxified by conjugation with glutathione, we measured glutathione levels and glutathione-S-transferase expression and activities in both cell lines. The epithelial cells had higher glutathione-S-transferase enzyme activity and protein expression than did the fibroblast cell line. Because the epithelial cells were more sensitive to toxicity, glutathione conjugation evidently plays only a minor role in PhIP toxicity and mutagenicity in our cell lines. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 39:245–253, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.