Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) such as dibenzo[a,l]pyrene (DBP) are wide-spread environmental pollutants most probably mutagenic and carcinogenic to humans. Detailed data on the cytogenetic effects of anti-11,12-dihydroxy-13,14-epoxy-11,12,13,14-tetrahydrodibenzo[a,l]pyrene (DBPDE) in mammalian cells are not available in the literature. The aim of this study is to elucidate the mechanisms involved in the induction of chromosomal aberrations and sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) by DBPDE in mammalian cells. In order to achieve this a parental (AA8) and different DNA repair-deficient Chinese hamster ovary cell lines such as UV4, UV5, UV61 (nucleotide excision repair, NER), EM9 (base excision repair, BER), irs1SF (homologous recombination repair, HRR) and V3-3 (non-homologous end joining, NHEJ) were used. The most sensitive cell lines for DBPDE-induced chromosome aberrations were EM9 and irs1SF, while EM9 and V3-3 cell lines were the most sensitive in terms of SCEs induction. It can be suggested that the BER pathway plays an important role in the repair of lesions induced by DBPDE, affecting both chromosomal aberrations and SCEs induction. Moreover, the HRR pathway seems to play a role in cellular resistance to DBPDE mainly in terms of chromosomal aberration induction while the NHEJ pathway takes part affecting only the induction of SCEs.

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