• o-anisidine;
  • carcinogen;
  • risk assessment;
  • metabolic activation;
  • human cytochromes P450;
  • DNA adducts;
  • 32P-postlabeling


2-methoxyaniline (o-anisidine) is an industrial and environmental pollutant and a bladder carcinogen for rodents. The mechanism of its carcinogenicity was investigated with 2 independent methods, 32P-postlabeling and 14C-labeled o-anisidine, to show that o-anisidine binds covalently to DNA in vitro after its activation by human hepatic microsomes. We also investigated the capacity of o-anisidine to form DNA adducts in vivo. Rats were treated i.p. with o-anisidine (0.15 mg/kg daily for 5 days) and DNA from several organs was analyzed by 32P-postlabeling. Two o-anisidine-DNA adducts, identical to those found in DNA incubated with o-anisidine and human microsomes in vitro, were detected in urinary bladder (4.1 adducts per 107 nucleotides), the target organ, and, to a lesser extent, in liver, kidney and spleen. These DNA adducts were identified as deoxyguanosine adducts derived from a metabolite of o-anisidine, N-(2-methoxyphenyl)hydroxylamine. This metabolite was identified in incubations with human microsomes. With 9 human hepatic microsomal preparations, we identified the specific CYP catalyzing the formation of the o-anisidine metabolites by correlation studies and by examining the effects of CYP inhibitors. On the basis of these analyses, oxidation of o-anisidine was attributed mainly to CYP2E1. Using recombinant human CYP (in Supersomes) and purified CYPs, the participation of CYP2E1 in o-anisidine oxidation was confirmed. In Supersomes, CYP1A2 was even more efficient in oxidizing o-anisidine than CYP2E1, followed by CYP2B6, 1A1, 2A6, 2D6 and 3A4. The results, the first report on the potential of the human microsomal CYP enzymes to activate o-anisidine, strongly suggest a carcinogenic potential of this rodent carcinogen for humans. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.