Mass spectrometry for the assessment of the occurrence and biological consequences of DNA adducts
Exogenous and endogenous sources of chemical species can react, directly or after metabolic activation, with DNA to yield DNA adducts. If not repaired, DNA adducts may compromise cellular functions by blocking DNA replication and/or inducing mutations. Unambiguous identification of the structures and accurate measurements of the levels of DNA adducts in cellular and tissue DNA constitute the first and important step towards understanding the biological consequences of these adducts. The advances in mass spectrometry (MS) instrumentation in the past 2–3 decades have rendered MS an important tool for structure elucidation, quantification, and revelation of the biological consequences of DNA adducts. In this review, we summarized the development of MS techniques on these fronts for DNA adduct analysis. We placed our emphasis of discussion on sample preparation, the combination of MS with gas chromatography- or liquid chromatography (LC)-based separation techniques for the quantitative measurement of DNA adducts, and the use of LC-MS along with molecular biology tools for understanding the human health consequences of DNA adducts. The applications of mass spectrometry-based DNA adduct analysis for predicting the therapeutic outcome of anti-cancer agents, for monitoring the human exposure to endogenous and environmental genotoxic agents, and for DNA repair studies were also discussed.