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Mutat Res. 2006 Aug 30;600(1-2):58-66. Epub 2006 Jul 5.

Cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay evolves into a "cytome" assay of chromosomal instability, mitotic dysfunction and cell death.

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  • 1CSIRO Human Nutrition, Genome Health Nutrigenomics Project, P.O. Box 10041, Adelaide BC, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. michael.fenech@csiro.au <michael.fenech@csiro.au>

Abstract

The cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) assay was originally developed as an ideal system for measuring micronuclei (MNi) however it can also be used to measure nucleoplasmic bridges (NPBs), nuclear buds (NBUDs), cell death (necrosis or apoptosis) and nuclear division rate. Current evidence suggests that (a) NPBs originate from dicentric chromosomes in which the centromeres have been pulled to the opposite poles of the cell at anaphase and are therefore indicative of DNA mis-repair, chromosome rearrangement or telomere end-fusions, (b) NPBs may break to form MNi, (c) the nuclear budding process is the mechanism by which cells remove amplified and/or excess DNA and is therefore a marker of gene amplification and/or altered gene dosage, (d) cell cycle checkpoint defects result in micronucleus formation and (e) hypomethylation of DNA, induced nutritionally or by inhibition of DNA methyl transferase can lead to micronucleus formation either via chromosome loss or chromosome breakage. The strong correlation between micronucleus formation, nuclear budding and NPBs (r=0.75-0.77, P<0.001) induced by either folic acid deficiency or exposure to ionising radiation is supportive of the hypothesis that folic acid deficiency and/or ionising radiation cause genomic instability and gene amplification by the initiation of breakage-fusion-bridge cycles. In its comprehensive mode, the CBMN assay measures all cells including necrotic and apoptotic cells as well as number of nuclei per cell to provide a measure of cytotoxicity and mitotic activity. The CBMN assay has in fact evolved into a "cytome" method for measuring comprehensively chromosomal instability phenotype and altered cellular viability caused by genetic defects and/or nutrional deficiencies and/or exogenous genotoxins thus opening up an exciting future for the use of this methodology in the emerging fields of nutrigenomics and toxicogenomics and their combinations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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