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Int J Environ Health Res. 2003 Dec;13(4):373-9.

Genotoxic effects of vanadium pentoxide on human peripheral lymphocytes and mucosal cells of the upper aerodigestive tract.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Regensbury, Germany.


In addition to tobacco and alcohol consumption, pollutants found in certain industries and in the environment play an important role in carcinogenesis in the upper aerodigestive tract. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether vanadium pentoxide may have a genotoxic effect on human mucosal cells and lymphocytes. The single cell microgel electrophoresis assay (Comet assay) was used to detect DNA damage induced by vanadium pentoxide in human nasal epithelia (n = 11) and in lymphocytes (n = 11). Mucosa was harvested from inferior nasal turbinates, while lymphocytes were obtained via venous puncture. Vanadium pentoxide was applied at concentrations of 0.06 mM, 0.12 mM, 0.24 mM, and 0.47 mM. Aqua bidestillata served as solvent and negative control and N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine at 0.07 mM (MNNG) was used as positive control. The trypan blue exclusion test was applied to assess cytotoxicity. Whereas vanadium pentoxide induced dose-dependent DNA migration in lymphocytes, mucosal cells did not show comparable genotoxic effects. Cytotoxic effects allowed for viabilities exceeding 80%. The results indicate that vanadium pentoxide is capable of inducing single-strand-breaks and/or alkali-labile damage in the DNA of human lymphocytes. By contrast, mucosal cells proved not to be sensitive in this setting. Thus, a possible role of vanadium in the tumorigenesis of head and neck cancer appears unrelated to direct genotoxic effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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