Use of the comet assay to investigate possible interactions of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species in the induction of DNA damage and inhibition of function in an insulin-secreting cell line.


Journal Article

We have previously used the comet assay to demonstrate that the nitric oxide donor 3-morpholinosydnonimine (SIN-1) produces DNA damage in rat islets of Langerhans and in the SV40-transformed insulin-secreting hamster cell line, HIT-T15. Damage is not prevented by the addition of superoxide dismutase (SOD). In the present study, we have compared SIN-1, which generates nitric oxide, superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide, with two other nitric oxide donors, S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) and the tetra-iron-sulphur cluster nitrosyl, Roussin's black salt (RBS). We have used the comet assay as a highly sensitive method to measure DNA-damaging ability, and also measured inhibition of DNA synthesis and inhibition of insulin secretion. We have examined the effect of SOD and catalase on each of these endpoints in HIT-T15 cells following a 30-min exposure to the compounds (24 h for DNA synthesis). All compounds produced a significant dose-dependent increase in strand-breakage formation and all inhibited DNA synthesis and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. RBS was the most potent. SOD did not reduce the responses observed with any of the compounds. Catalase largely prevented DNA strand breakage, inhibition of DNA synthesis and inhibition of insulin secretion by SIN-1, but had no effect on responses to GSNO or RBS. Addition of SOD together with catalase gave no greater protection against SIN-1 than catalase alone. The nitric oxide and superoxide anion produced by SIN-1 are though to combine to form highly reactive peroxynitrite. In addition, H2O2 may be formed in the presence of SIN-1 and may form hydroxyl radical in the presence of a transition metal, such as Fe2+. It appears that in insulin-secreting cells, the effects of SIN-1 are largely mediated by this latter mechanism. In contrast, GSNO and RBS appear to act by a different mechanism, not overtly involving reactive oxygen species. GSNO and H2O2 show no significant interaction in the induction of DNA strand breaks. Both nitric oxide and H2O2 are effective, directly or indirectly, as DNA strand-breaking agents, inhibitors of DNA synthesis and inhibitors of insulin secretion.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Delaney, CA; Green, IC; Lowe, JE; Cunningham, JM; Butler, AR; Renton, L; D'Costa, I; Green, MH

Published Date

  • April 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 375 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 137 - 146

PubMed ID

  • 9202724

Pubmed Central ID

  • 9202724

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-135X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0027-5107

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s0027-5107(97)00009-2


  • eng