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Cytogenet Genome Res. 2011;133(2-4):254-68. doi: 10.1159/000323284. Epub 2011 Jan 11.

Environmental hazard in the aetiology of somatic and germ cell aneuploidy.

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Laboratory of Toxicology, ENEA CR Casaccia, Rome, Italy.


Sources of environmental exposures to potentially aneugenic agents are many and include occupational and therapeutic exposures, and exposures associated with lifestyle habits. In this present study, some of these agents and exposure scenarios are discussed that involve potentially large population targets and/or seem to affect chromosome segregation by previously unsuspected mechanisms: metals, possibly acting by epigenetic mechanisms; nano-sized particles that might directly interact with subcellular components of the mitotic and meiotic machineries; cytostatic drugs in healthcare occupations; anticancer therapies potentially affecting the genetic integrity of gametes; continuously increasing electromagnetic field exposures with some sparse evidence of aneugenic activity; endocrine disruptors and their seemingly elusive effects in mouse oocytes, including the first evidence that prenatal exposure could affect meiotic nondisjunction in adult life. Hazards are considered for both somatic cells at risk of neoplastic transformation or tumour progression by chromosome loss and gain and germ cells at risk of heritable aneuploidies associated with spontaneous abortions or genetic diseases. Finally, possible synergistic interactions between environmental exposure and ageing or genetic predisposition are considered that could influence ultimate risks.

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