Modulation of the metabolism and adverse effects of benzo[a]pyrene by a specific antibody: A novel host factor in environmental carcinogenesis?

Stefan S. De Buck, Fabienne B. Bouche, Annick Brandenburger, Claude P. Muller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of specific antibodies on molecular and cellular mechanisms of activation, detoxification and biological activity of the ubiquitous carcinogen benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) was investigated using a monoclonal antibody. The antibody was shown to decrease cellular uptake and metabolic activation of B[a]P as demonstrated by higher recovery of unmetabolized B[a]P and decreased formation of end-point phenol metabolites in two types of target cells. Furthermore, strong antibody reactivity with 7,8-diol-B[a]P provided a second chance for interrupting metabolic activation by sequestration of this intermediate metabolite in the extracellular space. The biological relevance of B[a]P and 7,8-diol-B[a]P redistribution by antibody was demonstrated by reversion of B[a]P-induced inhibition of proliferation of human peripheral blood lymphocytes and by inhibition of CYP 1A1 induction in HepG2 cells. Remarkably, the antibody was still protective against B[a]P-induced immunotoxicity even after delayed addition, suggesting a more important role of metabolites in immunotoxicity than has been appreciated so far. Although B[a]P is activated to 7,8-diol-B[a]P in the same cells that are inhibited by this metabolite, the antibody completely restored lymphocyte proliferation indicating that extracellular trapping of the 7,8-diol-B[a]P is biologically highly effective. Thus, repartitioning of both B[a]P and its metabolites by the antibody may reduce their effective concentration in susceptible target organs and therefore relieve overloaded DNA repair mechanisms and inhibit carcinogen-induced P450 induction. These in vitro data also suggest that a natural or prophylactic antibody response against carcinogens may be associated with a reduced risk of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-844
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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