Send to

Choose Destination
Mutat Res. 2007 Jun 15;630(1-2):78-91. Epub 2007 Mar 19.

In vitro micronucleus assay scored by flow cytometry provides a comprehensive evaluation of cytogenetic damage and cytotoxicity.

Author information

Litron Laboratories, 200 Canal View Blvd., Rochester, NY, United States.


This laboratory has previously reported on the development of a flow cytometry-based method for scoring in vitro micronuclei in mouse lymphoma (L5178Y) cells [S.L. Avlasevich, S.M. Bryce, S.E. Cairns, S.D. Dertinger, In vitro micronucleus scoring by flow cytometry: differential staining of micronuclei versus apoptotic and necrotic chromatin enhances assay reliability, Environ. Molec. Mutagen. 47 (2006) 56-66]. With this method, necrotic and mid/late stage apoptotic cells are labeled with the fluorescent dye ethidium monoazide. Cells are then washed, stripped of their cytoplasmic membranes, and incubated with RNase plus a pan-nucleic acid dye (SYTOX Green). This process provides a suspension of free nuclei and micronuclei that are differentially stained relative to chromatin associated with dead/dying cells. The current report extends this line of investigation to include the human cell line TK6. Additionally, methods are described that facilitate simultaneous quantitative analysis of cytotoxicity, perturbations to the cell cycle, and what we hypothesize is aneuploidization. This comprehensive cytogenetic damage assay was evaluated with the following diverse agents: etoposide, ionizing radiation, methyl methanesulfonate, vinblastine, ethanol, and staurosporine. Cells were harvested after 30h of continuous treatment (in the case of chemicals), or following graded doses of radiation up to 1Gy. Key findings include the following: (1) Significant discrepancies in top dose selection were found for five of the six agents studied when relative survival measurements were based on Coulter counting versus flow cytometry. (2) Both microscopy- and flow cytometry-based scoring methods detected dose-dependent micronucleus formation for the four genotoxic agents studied, whereas no significant increases were observed for the presumed non-genotoxicants ethanol and staurosporine when top dose selection was based on flow cytometric indices of cytotoxicity. (3) SYTOX and ethidium monoazide fluorescence signals conveyed cell cycle and cell death information, respectively, and appear to represent valuable aids for interpreting micronucleus data. (4) The frequency of hypodiploid nuclei increased in response to each of the genotoxic agents studied, but not following exposure to ethanol or staurosporine. Collectively, these results indicate that a comprehensive assessment of genotoxicity and other test article-induced toxicities can be acquired simultaneously using a simple two-color flow cytometry-based technique.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center