Dichloroacetic acid and trichloroacetic acid-induced DNA strand breaks are independent of peroxisome proliferation

Mark A. Nelson, Alexis J. Lansing, Idalia M. Sanchez, Richard J. Bull, David L. Springer

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42 Scopus citations


This study examined whether the induction of single strand breaks in hepatic DNA by dichloroacetic acid (DCA) and trichloroacetic acid (TCA) depends upon peroxisome proliferation. Male B6C3F1 mice were given a single oral dose of either DCA or TCA. At varying times, between 1 and 24 h after administration of the compounds, breaks in DNA were measured using an alkaline unwinding assay. Peroxisome proliferation was monitored at the same time intervals in a parallel experiment by measuring peroxisomal B-oxidation of [14C]palmitoyl-CoA in liver homogenates. Both DCA and TCA significantly increased breaks in DNA at 1, 2, and 4 h post-treatment, with a return to control levels after 8 h. No evidence for an increase in peroxisomal β-oxidation was produced by either chemical up to 24 h after administration. In a separate experiment, mice were treated with DCA or TCA for 10 days and their livers examined for evidence of peroxisome proliferation. An increase in liver weight was observed, particularly with DCA. Both TCA and DCA increased peroxisomal β-oxidation in liver homogenates, with TCA-treated animals showing more activity than those treated with DCA. Electron microscopy revealed that the number of peroxisomes were approximately the same in DCA- and TCA-treated animals. However, peroxisomes induced by DCA treatment frequently lacked nucleoid cores. These data indicate that peroxisomes induced by these compounds differ in their concentration of peroxisomal enzymes. Except for a slight hypertrophy, repeated doses of TCA do not produce significant degenerative changes in the liver of mice. Repeated doses of DCA produce multifocal, subcapsular necrotic regions, and a marked hypertrophic response in the liver. Mice treated with TCA for 10 days and sacrificed 24 h after the last dose did not display increased strand breaks in hepatic DNA. This indicates that peroxisomal proliferation does not contribute to the induction of DNA strand breaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-248
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 16 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA single strand breaks
  • Dichloroacetic acid
  • Peroxisome proliferation
  • Trichloroacetic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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