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The alkaline single cell electrophoresis assay with eight mouse organs: results with 22 mono-functional alkylating agents (including 9 dialkyl N-nitrosoamines) and 10 DNA crosslinkers.

  • Tsuda, S
  • Matsusaka, N
  • Madarame, H
  • Miyamae, Y
  • Ishida, K
  • Satoh, M
  • Sekihashi, K
  • Sasaki, Y F
Published Article
Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Publication Date
Apr 13, 2000
PMID: 10771273


The genotoxicity of 22 mono-functional alkylating agents (including 9 dialkyl N-nitrosoamines) and 10 DNA crosslinkers selected from IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) groups 1, 2A, and 2B was evaluated in eight mouse organs with the alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) (comet) assay. Groups of four mice were treated once intraperitoneally at the dose at which micronucleus tests had been conducted, and the stomach, colon, liver, kidney, bladder, lung, brain, and bone marrow were sampled 3, 8, and/or 24 h later. All chemicals were positive in the SCGE assay in at least one organ. Of the 22 mono-functional alkylating agents, over 50% were positive in all organs except the brain and bone marrow. The two subsets of mono-functional alkylating agents differed in their bone marrow genotoxicity: only 1 of the 9 dialkyl N-nitrosoamines was positive in bone marrow as opposed to 8 of the 13 other alkylating agents, reflecting the fact that dialkyl N-nitrosoamines are poor micronucleus inducers in hematopoietic cells. The two groups of mono-functional alkylating agents also differ in hepatic carcinogenicity in spite of the fact that they are similar in hepatic genotoxicity. While dialkyl N-nitrosoamines produce tumors primarily in mouse liver, only one (styrene-7,8-oxide) out of 10 of the other type of mono-functional alkylating agents is a mouse hepatic carcinogen. Taking into consideration our previous results showing high concordance between hepatic genotoxicity and carcinogenicity for aromatic amines and azo compounds, a possible explanation for the discrepancy might be that chemicals that require metabolic activation show high concordance between genotoxicity and carcinogenicity in the liver. A high percent of the 10 DNA crosslinkers were positive in the SCGE assay in the gastrointestinal mucosa, but less than 50% were positive in the liver and lung. In this study, we allowed 10 min alkali-unwinding to obtain low and stable control values. Considering that DNA crosslinking lesions can be detected as lowering of not only positive but also negative control values, low control values by short alkali-treatment might make it difficult to detect DNA crosslinking lesions. In conclusion, although both mono-functional alkylating agents and DNA crosslinkers are genotoxic in mouse multiple organs, the genotoxicity of DNA crosslinkers can be detected in the gastrointestinal organs even though they were given intraperitoneally followed by the short alkali-treatment.

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