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Arch Toxicol. 2013 Jan;87(1):179-87. doi: 10.1007/s00204-012-0915-2. Epub 2012 Aug 8.

Genotoxic damage in the oral mucosa cells of subjects carrying restorative dental fillings.

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Department of Hygiene, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Messina, Via Consolare Valeria, 98125 Messina, Italy.


A large proportion of the population carries restorative dental fillings containing either classic Hg-based amalgams and/or the more frequently used methacrylates. Both Hg- and resin-based materials have been shown to be released into the buccal cavity and to be spread systemically. In addition, they induce toxic and genotoxic alterations in experimental test systems. Using the comet assay, we previously demonstrated that circulating lymphocytes of subjects with dental fillings have an increased DNA damage. Here, we analyzed the oral mucosa cells of 63 young subjects of both genders, by using both the comet assay and the micronucleus (MN) test and by monitoring cell death markers. The results obtained show that both amalgams and resin-based composite fillings can induce genotoxic damage in human oral mucosa cells, as convincingly and dose-dependently inferred from the results of the MN test and, more marginally, from comet assay data. Lifestyle variables, also including alcohol intake and smoking habits, did not affect the genotoxic response and did not act as confounding factors. Thus, we provide unequivocal evidence for the genotoxicity of both amalgams and resin-based dental fillings in humans not only by testing circulating lymphocytes but also by analyzing oral mucosa cells. These findings are of particular relevance due to the circumstance that subjects with restorative materials are exposed continuously and for long periods of time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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