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Mutat Res. 2002 Dec;512(2-3):121-34.

Genotoxicity of streptozotocin.

Author information

  • 1Laboratorio de Citogenética y Mutagénesis, Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Celular (IMBICE), C.C. 403, 1900, La Plata, Argentina. adbolzan@netverk.com.ar


Streptozotocin (Streptozocin, STZ, CAS No. 18883-66-4) is a monofunctional nitrosourea derivative isolated from Streptomyces achromogenes. It has broad spectrum antibiotic activity and antineoplastic properties and is often used to induce diabetes mellitus in experimental animals through its toxic effects on pancreatic beta cells. STZ is a potent alkylating agent known to directly methylate DNA and is highly genotoxic, producing DNA strand breaks, alkali-labile sites, unscheduled DNA synthesis, DNA adducts, chromosomal aberrations, micronuclei, sister chromatid exchanges, and cell death. This antibiotic was found to be mutagenic in bacterial assays and eukaryotic cells. STZ is also carcinogenic; a single administration induces tumors in rat kidney, liver, and pancreas. Several lines of evidence indicate that free radicals are involved in the production of DNA and chromosome damage by this compound. Because of the use of STZ as an antineoplastic agent, the study of its genotoxicity has considerable practical significance. The purpose of this review is to present our current knowledge regarding the genotoxicity of STZ.

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