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Ann Biol Clin (Paris). 2000 Sep-Oct;58(5):595-600.

[Studies on the genotoxic effects of crude liver oils from 3 species of Mediterranean sharks by means of in vitro micronucleus test using human lymphocytes].

[Article in French]

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Laboratoire de biogénotoxicologie et mutagenèse environnementale, Université de la Méditerranée, 27, boulevard Jean-Moulin, 13385 Marseille cedex 05, France.


Lymphoid system tumours have been identified in two subjects who used to handle for several years mediterranean shark liver oil and squalen extracted from this oil. Moreover, scientific data, reported in 1959 by Kröning, show the induction of lymphoid tumours in C57 B1 mice after exposure of their skin to squalen. These observations rose the question of a possible mutagenic power of shark liver oil. In order to determine the genotoxicity of these oils, in vitro assays have been performed on crude hepatic oil of three species of mediterranean sharks: two benthic sharks, Centrophorus granulosus and Galeus melastomus, and one pelagic specie, Prionace glauca. Genotoxicity of oils have been assayed using a micronucleus test which can detected simultaneously clastogen and aneugen effects. The incubation of human cells with the hepatic crude oils of Centrophorus granulosus increases the rate of the binucleated micronucleated cell in a dose dependent manner. The mean micronucleated cell rate was 9.0%. +/- 1.1 in controls and increased up to 27,1%. +/- 4,0 for the highest concentrations of oil extracts. Similar results have been obtained with crude hepatic oils of Galeus melastomus and Prionace glauca. The results of this experimental study show that the crude liver oils of three species of sharks are genotoxic and confirm a high carcinogenic risk.

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