Li J, Moe B, Vemula S, Wang W, Li XF. Emerging Disinfection Byproducts, Halobenzoquinones: Effects of Isomeric Structure and Halogen Substitution on Cytotoxicity, Formation of Reactive Oxygen Species, and Genotoxicity. Environmental Science and Technology. 2016 Jan 26.
Halobenzoquinones (HBQs) are a structurally diverse class of water disinfection byproducts. Here, we report a systematic study on the effects of isomeric structure and the type and number of halogen substitutions of HBQs on their cytotoxicity, formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and genotoxicity. Dynamic responses and IC50 histograms were obtained using real time cell analysis, clearly ranking the cytotoxicity of the HBQs in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO-K1) cells. Strong isomeric structure effects were shown with 2,5-HBQ isomers inducing greater cytotoxicity than their corresponding 2,6-HBQ isomers (P<0.05). HBQ-halogen substitution groups also influence cytotoxicity, as cytotoxicity increases across the di-halogenated HBQs: iodo- > bromo- > chloro-HBQs (P<0.05). Determination of HBQ-induced ROS further supports isomeric structure and halogen substitution effects. HBQ-induced genotoxicity was shown as increased levels of 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and p53 protein. Pearson correlation analysis of the HBQ toxicity measurements with their physicochemical parameters demonstrates that dipole moment and the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital energy are two major structural influences on toxicity (r=-0.721 or -0.766, P < 0.05). Dipole moment also correlates with isomer toxicity. This study suggests that formation and occurrence of highly toxic iodo-HBQs and 2,5-HBQs warrant further investigation to fully assess the impact of HBQs in drinking water.