Exposure to quartz dusts has been associated with lung cancer and fibrosis. Although the responsible mechanisms are not completely understood, progressive inflammation with associated induction of persistent oxidative stress has been discussed as a key event for these diseases. Previously we have evaluated the kinetics of pulmonary inflammation in the rat model following a single intratracheal instillation of 2mg DQ12 quartz, either in its native form or upon its surface modification with polyvinylpyridine-N-oxide or aluminium lactate. This model has been applied now to evaluate the role of inflammation in the kinetics of induction of DNA damage and response at 3, 7, 28, and 90 days after treatment. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cell counts and differentials as well as BAL fluid myeloperoxidase activity were used as markers of inflammation. Whole lung homogenate was investigated to determine the induction of the oxidative and pre-mutagenic DNA lesion 8-hydroxy-2-deoxy-guanosine (8-OHdG) by HPLC/ECD, while mRNA and protein expression of oxidative stress and DNA damage response genes including hemeoxygenase-1 (HO-1) and apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease (APE/Ref-1) were evaluated using Western blotting and real time PCR. Isolated lung epithelial cells from the treated rats were used for DNA strand breakage analysis using the alkaline comet assay as well as for micronucleus scoring in May-Gruenwald-Giemsa stained cytospin preparations. In the rats that were treated with quartz, no increased 8-OHdG levels were observed, despite the presence of a marked and persistent inflammation. However, DNA strand breakage in the lung epithelial cells of the quartz treated rats was significantly enhanced at 3 days, but not at 28 days. Moreover, significantly enhanced micronucleus frequencies were observed for all four time points investigated. In the animals that were treated with the PVNO modified quartz, micronuclei scores did not differ from controls, while in those treated with the aluminium coated quartz intermediate effects were found. These findings were in line with the kinetics of inflammation and epithelial proliferation in the rat lungs for the different treatments. Notably, a highly significant correlation was observed between neutrophil numbers and micronucleus frequencies, indicative for a role of inflammation in eliciting genomic instability in target cells of quartz-induced carcinogenesis. Our ongoing investigations focus on the evaluation of the causality between both in relation to quartz exposure.