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Chem Res Toxicol. 2011 Jul 18;24(7):1040-7. doi: 10.1021/tx2001465. Epub 2011 Jun 23.

Cr(VI) induces DNA damage, cell cycle arrest and polyploidization: a flow cytometric and comet assay study in Pisum sativum.

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CESAM, Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal.


Chromium(VI) is recognized as the most toxic valency of Cr, but its genotoxicity and cytostaticity in plants is still poorly studied. In order to analyze Cr(VI) cyto- and gentotoxicity, Pisum sativum L. plants were grown in soil and watered with solutions with different concentrations of Cr up to 2000 mg/L. After 28 days of exposure, leaves showed no significant variations in either cell cycle dynamics or ploidy level. As for DNA damage, flow cytometric (FCM) histograms showed significant differences in full peak coefficient of variation (FPCV) values, suggesting clastogenicity. This is paralleled by the Comet assay results, showing an increase in DNA damage for 1000 and 2000 mg/L. In roots, exposure to 2000 mg/L resulted in cell cycle arrest at the G(2)/M checkpoint. It was also verified that under the same conditions 40% of the individuals analyzed suffered polyploidization having both 2C and 4C levels. DNA damage analysis by the Comet assay and FCM revealed dose-dependent increases in DNA damage and FPCV. Through this, we have unequivocally demonstrated for the first time in plants that Cr exposure can result in DNA damage, cell cycle arrest, and polyploidization. Moreover, we critically compare the validity of the Comet assay and FCM in evaluating cytogenetic toxicity tests in plants and demonstrate that the data provided by both techniques complement each other and present high correlation levels. In conclusion, the data presented provides new insight on Cr effects in plants in general and supports the use of the parameters tested in this study as reliable endpoints for this metal toxicity in plants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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