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Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1983 Nov-Dec;3(6):587-602.

Preclinical toxicology studies with acyclovir: genetic toxicity tests.


Acyclovir (ACV), an antiviral drug active in the treatment of oral and genital Herpes infections, has been evaluated for mutagenic and carcinogenic potential in a battery of in vitro and in vivo short-term assays. Negative results were obtained in the following in vitro tests: Ames Salmonella, plate incorporation and preincubation modification assays; E. coli polA+/polA- DNA repair; yeast (S. cerevisiae D4) gene conversion; Chinese hamster ovary cells (HGPRT, APRT loci and ouabain-resistance marker); L5178Y mouse lymphoma cells (HGPRT locus and ouabain-resistance marker); and C3H/10T1/2 mouse fibroblast neoplastic transformation assay. All except the last assay were performed in the presence and absence of an exogenous metabolic activation system. ACV was positive at high concentrations X exposure times in the absence of exogenous metabolic activation in the following in vitro systems and at the indicated concentrations: BALB/c-3T3 neoplastic transformation (50 micrograms/mL, 72 h exposure); human lymphocyte cytogenetics (250-500 micrograms/mL, 48 h exposure); and L5178Y mouse lymphoma cells (TK locus, 400-2400 micrograms/mL, 4 h exposure; predominantly small colony mutants of chromosomal origin produced). No effects were seen in vivo (mouse dominant lethal assay; rat and Chinese hamster bone marrow cytogenetics) at up to maximum tolerated doses (MTD). An unusual clastogenic effect was seen in Chinese hamsters at 5 times the MTD. Overall, positive effects were seen only at either high concentrations (greater than or equal to 250 micrograms/mL in vitro or plasma levels) or prolonged exposure (72 hr in the BALB/c-3T3 neoplastic transformation assay). These studies support the view that ACV is a chromosomal mutagen, i.e., one which causes multi-locus damage but not single gene effects. The significance of these results for the genetic risk of ACV to man is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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