Human cell toxicogenomic analysis of bromoacetic acid: A regulated drinking water disinfection by-product

Mark G. Muellner, Matias S. Attene-Ramos, Matthew E. Hudson, Elizabeth D. Wagner, Michael J. Plewa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The disinfection of drinking water is a major achievement in protecting the public health. However, current disinfection methods also generate disinfection by-products (DBPs). Many DBPs are cytotoxic, genotoxic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic and represent an important class of environmentally hazardous chemicals that may carry long-term human health implications. The objective of this research was to integrate in vitro toxicology with focused toxicogenomic analysis of the regulated DBP, bromoacetic acid (BAA) and to evaluate modulation of gene expression involved in DNA damage/repair and toxic responses, with nontransformed human cells. We generated transcriptome profiles for 168 genes with 30 min and 4 hr exposure times that did not induce acute cytotoxicity. Using qRT-PCR gene arrays, the levels of 25 transcripts were modulated to a statistically significant degree in response to a 30 min treatment with BAA (16 transcripts upregulated and nine downregulated). The largest changes were observed for RAD9A and BRCA1. The majority of the altered transcript profiles are genes involved in DNA repair, especially the repair of double strand DNA breaks, and in cell cycle regulation. With 4 hr of treatment the expression of 28 genes was modulated (12 upregulated and 16 downregulated); the largest fold changes were in HMOX1 and FMO1. This work represents the first nontransformed human cell toxicogenomic study with a regulated drinking water disinfection by-product. These data implicate double strand DNA breaks as a feature of BAA exposure. Future toxicogenomic studies of DBPs will further strengthen our limited knowledge in this growing area of drinking water research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Comet assay
  • Drinking water
  • Gene array

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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