Background: Large epidemiological studies point towards a link between the incidence of arterial hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, metabolic disease and exposure to traffic noise, supporting the role of noise exposure as an independent cardiovascular risk factor. We characterised the underlying molecular mechanisms leading to noise-dependent adverse effects on the vasculature and myocardium in an animal model of aircraft noise exposure and identified oxidative stress and inflammation as central players in mediating vascular and cardiac dysfunction. Here, we studied the impact of noise-induced oxidative DNA damage on vascular function in DNA-repair deficient 8-oxoguanine glycosylase knockout (Ogg1–/–) mice. Methods and results: Noise exposure (peak sound levels of 85 and mean sound level of 72 dB(A) applied for 4d) caused oxidative DNA damage (8-oxoguanine) and enhanced NOX-2 expression in C57BL/6 mice with synergistic increases in Ogg1–/– mice (shown by immunohistochemistry). A similar pattern was found for oxidative burst of blood leukocytes and other markers of oxidative stress (4-hydroxynonenal, 3-nitrotyrosine) and inflammation (cyclooxygenase-2). We observed additive impairment of noise exposure and genetic Ogg1 deficiency on endothelium-independent relaxation (nitroglycerine), which may be due to exacerbated oxidative DNA damage leading to leukocyte activation and oxidative aldehyde dehydrogenase inhibition. Conclusions: The finding that chronic noise exposure causes oxidative DNA damage in mice is worrisome since these potential mutagenic lesions could contribute to cancer progression. Human field studies have to demonstrate whether oxidative DNA damage is also found in urban populations with high levels of noise exposure as recently shown for workers with high occupational noise exposure.
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