2018 Volume 31 Issue 3 Pages 169-178
Despite its antimicrobial activity, nitrofurantoin (NFT) is a renal carcinogen in rats. Oxidative stress induced by reduction of the nitro group of NFT may contribute to its genotoxicity. This is supported by our recent results indicating that the structure of the nitrofuran plays a key role in NFT-induced genotoxicity, and oxidative DNA damage is involved in renal carcinogenesis. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) regulates cellular responses to oxidative stress. To clarify the role of oxidative stress in the chemical structure-related genotoxic mechanism of NFT, we performed reporter gene mutation assays for NFT and 5-nitro-2-furaldehyde (NFA) using Nrf2-proficient and Nrf2-deficient gpt delta mice. NFT administration for 13 weeks resulted in a significant increase in 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG; a marker of oxidative stress) and gpt mutant frequency only in the kidneys of Nrf2−/− mice. The mutation spectrum, characterized by increased substitutions at guanine bases, suggested that oxidative stress is involved in NFT-induced genotoxicity. However, NFA did not increase the mutation frequency in the kidneys, despite the increased 8-OHdG in NFA-treated Nrf2−/− mice. Thus, it is unlikely that oxidative stress is involved in the genotoxic mechanism of NFA. These results imply that nitro reduction plays a key role in the genotoxicity of NFT, but the lack of a role of oxidative stress in the genotoxicity of NFA indicates a potential role of side chain interactions in oxidative stress caused by nitro reduction. These findings provide a basis for the development of safe nitrofurans.