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Sidestream tobacco smoke is a male germ cell mutagen

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  • Sidestream tobacco smoke is a male germ cell mutagen

    • Francesco Marchetti,
    • Andrea Rowan-Carroll,
    • Andrew Williams,
    • Aris Polyzos,
    • M. Lynn Berndt-Weis,
    • and Carole L. Yauk

    Sidestream tobacco smoke is a male germ cell mutagen PNAS 2011 108 (31) 12811-12814; published ahead of print July 18, 2011, doi:10.1073/pnas.1106896108

    Active cigarette smoking increases oxidative damage, DNA adducts, DNA strand breaks, chromosomal aberrations, and heritable mutations in sperm. However, little is known regarding the effects of second-hand smoke on the male germ line. We show here that short-term exposure to mainstream tobacco smoke or sidestream tobacco smoke (STS), the main component of second-hand smoke, induces mutations at an expanded simple tandem repeat locus (Ms6-hm) in mouse sperm. We further show that the response to STS is not linear and that, for both mainstream tobacco smoke and STS, doses that induced significant increases in expanded simple tandem repeat mutations in sperm did not increase the frequencies of micronucleated reticulocytes and erythrocytes in the bone marrow and blood of exposed mice. These data show that passive exposure to cigarette smoke can cause tandem repeat mutations in sperm under conditions that may not induce genetic damage in somatic cells. Although the relationship between noncoding tandem repeat instability and mutations in functional regions of the genome is unclear, our data suggest that paternal exposure to second-hand smoke may have reproductive consequences that go beyond the passive smoker.

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