Indexed on: 09 May '12Published on: 09 May '12Published in: Toxicology
Chemical contaminants, such as benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), may modulate transcriptional responses in cells via the activation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) or through responses to DNA damage following adduct formation. Attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy can be employed in a non-destructive fashion to interrogate the biochemical signature of cells via generation of infrared (IR) spectra. By applying to generated spectral datasets subsequent computational approaches such as principal component analysis plus linear discriminant analysis (PCA-LDA), derived data reduction is achieved to facilitate the visualization of wavenumber-related alterations in target cells. Discriminating spectral variables might be associated with lipid or glycogen content, conformational protein changes and phosphorylation, and structural alterations in DNA/RNA. Using this approach, we investigated the dose-related effects of B[a]P in MCF-7 cells concentrated in S- or G₀/G₁-phase. Our findings identified that in PCA-LDA scores plots a clear segregation of IR spectra was evident, with the major spectral alterations associated with DNA/RNA, secondary protein structure and lipid. Dose-related effects were observed and even with exposures as low as 10⁻⁹ M B[a]P, significant (P ≤ 0.001) separation of B[a]P-treated vs. vehicle control cells was noted. ATR-FTIR spectroscopy with computational analysis is a novel approach to identify the effects of environmental contaminants in target cells.