Stromal cells from bone marrow are susceptible to toxicity induced by several redox-active metabolites of benzene, including hydroquinone (HQ). We have previously shown that tert-butyl-hydroquinone (tBHQ) can induce quinone reductase (QR) in bone marrow stroma as well as protect stromal cells against HQ-induced toxicity. Current studies investigate the underlining mechanisms of chemoprotection against HQ in DBA 2- and C57Bl 6-derived bone marrow stromal cells. The chemoprotector 1,2-dithiole-3-thione (DTT) has been used in these studies due to tBHQ toxicity to stromal cells at higher concentrations. Pretreatment of cells with DTT prior to HQ administration protected cells against HQ-induced toxicity. DTT induced QR activity in a dose-dependent manner in stromal cells from both strains of mice. However, there were no corresponding changes in glutathione transferase activity. DTT also increased cytosolic glutathione (GSH) concentrations by ≈85% in both strains. Since bone marrow stroma consists primarily of fibroblasts and macrophages, we also evaluated QR activity in the separate cell types from the two strains of mice. There were differences in basal and DTT-induced QR activity between fibroblasts and macrophage cells derived from the same strain of mice, as well as the expected differences between strains. Additionally, dicoumarol, an inhibitor of QR activity, potentiated HQ-induced toxicity in both strains of bone marrow stromal cells. Thus, cellular glutathione, QR activity, and their inducibility by chemoprotective agents such as DTT may prove to be important factors in chemically induced bone marrow toxicity and carcinogenicity.
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