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Mutat Res. 1998 Nov 9;419(1-3):13-20.

Detection of in vivo genotoxicity of haloalkanes and haloalkenes carcinogenic to rodents by the alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (comet) assay in multiple mouse organs.

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  • 1Laboratory of Genotoxicity, Hachinohe National College of Technology, Tamonoki Uwanotai 16-1, Hachinohe, Aomori 039-11, Japan.


The micronucleus test is widely used to assess in vivo clastogenicity because of its convenience, but it is not appropriate for some carcinogenic chemical classes. Halogenated compounds, for example, are inconsistent micronucleus inducers. We assessed the genotoxicity of 7 haloalkanes and haloalkenes carcinogenic to rodents in 7 mouse organs-stomach, liver, kidney, bladder, lung, brain, and bone marrow-using the alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (SCG) assay. The carcinogens we studied were 1, 2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP), 1,3-dichloropropene (mixture of cis and trans) (DCP), 1,2-dibromoethane (EDB), 1,2-dichloroethane (EDC), vinyl bromide, dichloromethane, and carbon tetrachloride; only DBCP induces micronuclei in mouse bone marrow. Except for carbon tetrachloride, halocompounds studied are mutagenic to Salmonella typhimurium. Mice were sacrificed 3 or 24 h after carcinogen administration. DCP and EDC induced DNA damage in all of the organs studied. Vinyl bromide yielded DNA damage in all of the organs except for bone marrow. DBCP induced DNA damage in the stomach, liver, kidney, lung, and bone marrow; EDB in the stomach, liver, kidney, bladder, and lung; and dichloromethane in the liver and lung. Since no deaths, morbidity, clinical signs, organ pathology, or microscopic signs of necrosis were observed, the DNA damage was not attributable to cytotoxicity. On the other hand, the positive response in the liver induced by carbon tetrachloride, which was accompanied by necrosis, was considered to be a false positive response. We suggest that the alkaline SCG assay can be used in multiple organs to detect in vivo genotoxicity that is not expressed in bone marrow cells in mice given non-necrogenic doses of halocompounds.

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