Modulation of DNA synthesis in aortic smooth muscle cells by dinitrotoluenes

Kenneth S. Ramos, Kathryn K. McMahon, Celestine Alipui, Diane Demick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Studies were conducted to determine if in vivo exposure to dinitrotoluenes (DNT), which is associated with circulatory disorders of atherosclerotic etiology in humans, is associated with alterations of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) consistent with the atherogenic process. Sprague-Dawley rats (150-180 g) were injected IP for 5 days/week for 8 weeks with 2,4- or 2,6-DNT (0.5, 5, or 10 mg/kg) or medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. Histopathologic evaluation of aortae from animals exposed to either isomer showed dysplasia and rearrangement of SMC at all doses tested. Reduced 3H-thymidine incorporation was observed in primary cultures of aortic SMC from DNT-exposed animals relative to vehicle controls. This inhibitory response was maintained for up to two passages in culture after which a significant increase in thymidine incorporation was observed. Exposure of SMC from naive animals to DNT in vitro (1-100 μM) did not alter the extent of thymidine incorporation in cycling or growth-arrested cultures. In contrast, exposure to 2,4- or 2,6-diaminotoluene (DAT) (1-100 μM), carcinogens which share toxic metabolic intermediates in common with DNT, inhibited replicative DNA synthesis and stimulated unscheduled DNA synthesis in cycling and growth-arrested cultures of SMC, respectively. Our results suggest that modulation of DNA synthesis in aortic SMC by DNT metabolites generated in vivo contribute to the development of vascular lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-128
Number of pages18
JournalCell Biology and Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1991


  • DNA synthesis
  • atherosclerosis
  • dinitrotoluences
  • vascular smooth muscle cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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