• Cytochrome P450;
  • DNA-damage;
  • Reactive oxygen species;
  • 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin


2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) was classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a carcinogen in humans. It acts through an aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated mechanism, inducing the transcription of numerous genes, including various cytochrome P450s (CYPs – CYP1A1, 1A2, 1B1). Induction of CYPs may lead to genotoxicity by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) which can damage DNA directly and/or via the generation of reactive metabolites. We determined ROS formation with the 2′,7′-dihydrodichlorofluorescein diacetate fluorescence assay after incubation of HepG2 hepatoma cells or primary rat hepatocytes with TCDD. The amount of 8-oxo-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG) in DNA was measured using HPLC-MS/MS, the amount of CYP1A1 protein by Western blotting. The catalytic activity of CYP1A enzymes was determined as 7-ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity. Incubation of cells with TCDD for 48 h caused increased levels of ROS in primary rat hepatocytes as well as increased levels of 8-oxo-dG in DNA compared to untreated cells. In the HepG2 cell line no significant effects were observed for both ROS formation and 8-oxo-dG levels. Both effects were in good agreement with the extent of induction of CYP1A1 protein and EROD activity, suggesting that CYP1 induction is a major source of ROS formation in TCDD-treated hepatocytes.