Air pollution: small doses most harmful to DNA

Categorie(s) : Innovation & Society, Life @ MINATEC, MINATEC, News, Research

Published : 3 February 2014

Toxicology studies often look at the effects of exposure to high doses of pollutants. However, are the effects underestimated for smaller doses? INAC recently examined how polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)—present in emissions from motor vehicles and heating systems—damage DNA.

The researchers observed the formation of covalent adducts, which modify gene sequences and participate in the development of cancer. Lung cells, for example, can react by triggering protective proteins, but only if PAH concentrations are above a certain threshold. Exposure to smaller doses is thus more harmful to DNA, a counter-intuitive conclusion that could change the way we think about traditional toxicity testing.





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