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Undergraduate Research Project Management System

The Effects of Benzene and its Metabolites on Epithelial Lung Cells

Status Current
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 07/01/2009
End Date 06/30/2010
Funding Source Undergraduate Research Grant
Funding Amount
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 07/13/2009 11:32PM
Keywords benzene, lung cells


  Cindy Knall

Student Researchers
  Deana Glick


Benzene is both an environmental pollutant and a component of cigarette smoke, gasoline and automotive emissions. Although occupational exposure to benzene has been shown to cause blood disorders and cancer in humans, the potential health effects resulting from exposure to low levels of benzene are not known and have not been entirely investigated. It is crucial to identify the levels of benzene and its metabolites in lungs cells exposed to cigarette smoke to better understand the effects of this known carcinogen on the lung. This study will investigate the metabolism of benzene and the formation of benzene DNA adducts in lung cells after benzene exposure. By investigating the metabolism of benzene we will have a better understanding of the effects that benzene has on the lungs, both as a component of cigarette smoke and as an environmental hazard. The goal of this proposal is to identify the mechanism and to define the extent of damage that benzene induces in lung cells, both primary human bronchial epithelial cells and CaLu3 cells of human bronchial epithelial origin. This study will have two specific aims:

Specific Aim #1:To analyze the metabolism of benzene in primary human lung epithelial cells and CaLu3 cells. The objective of this aim is to test the hypothesis that with increase benzene amounts, formation of each metabolite will increase. To further hypothesis, the CaLu3 cells', due to their susceptibility, will have greater metabolite formation than that of the primary human lung epithelial cells.

Specific Aim #2:To define the changes in DNA structure due to the metabolism of benzene and subsequent formation of benzene DNA adducts. The objective of this aim is to test the hypothesis that a correlation will exist between benzene metabolism and metabolite formation and the rate of DNA adduct formation. To further this hypothesis, the CaLu3 cells, due to their susceptibility, will develop DNA adducts at a greater rate and frequency than the primary human lung epithelial cells.

Research Questions: 1) Will the two types of cells metabolism benzene differently and how will the amounts of benzene metabolized relate to the possible changes? 2) What changes will occur to the DNA structure from the metabolism of benzene (i.e. formation of DNA adducts)? How will these changes compare between the two types of cells?

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