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. 2007 Jun 15;630(1-2):28-41.
doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2007.02.010. Epub 2007 Apr 19.

In Vivo Comet Assay on Isolated Kidney Cells to Distinguish Genotoxic Carcinogens From Epigenetic Carcinogens or Cytotoxic Compounds


In Vivo Comet Assay on Isolated Kidney Cells to Distinguish Genotoxic Carcinogens From Epigenetic Carcinogens or Cytotoxic Compounds

Fabrice Nesslany et al. Mutat Res. .


The objective of this study was to determine the ability of the alkaline in vivo Comet assay (pH>13) to distinguish genotoxic carcinogens from epigenetic carcinogens when performed on freshly isolated kidney cells and to determine the possible interference of cytotoxicity by assessing DNA damage induced by renal genotoxic, epigenetic or toxic compounds after enzymatic isolation of kidney cells from OFA Sprague-Dawley male rats. The ability of the Comet assay to distinguish (1) genotoxicity versus cytotoxicity and (2) genotoxic versus non-genotoxic (epigenetic) carcinogens, was thus investigated by studying five known genotoxic renal carcinogens acting through diverse mechanisms of action, i.e. streptozotocin, aristolochic acids, 2-nitroanisole, potassium bromate and cisplatin, two rodent renal epigenetic carcinogens: d-limonene and ciclosporine and two nephrotoxic compounds: streptomycin and indomethacin. Animals were treated once with the test compound by the appropriate route of administration and genotoxic effects were measured at the two sampling times of 3-6 and 22-26h after treatment. Regarding the tissue processing, the limited background level of DNA migration observed in the negative control groups throughout all experiments demonstrated that the enzymatic isolation method implemented in the current study is appropriate. On the other hand, streptozotocin, 20mg/kg, used as positive reference control concurrently to each assay, caused a clear increase in the mean Olive Tail Moment median value, which allows validating the current methodology. Under these experimental conditions, the in vivo rodent Comet assay demonstrated good sensitivity and good specificity: all the five renal genotoxic carcinogens were clearly detected in at least one expression period either directly or indirectly, as in the case of cisplatin: for this cross-linking agent, the significant decrease in DNA migration observed under standard electrophoresis conditions was clearly amplified when the duration of electrophoresis was increased up to 40min. In contrast, epigenetic and nephrotoxic compounds failed to induce any signifcant increase in DNA migration. In conclusion, the in vivo rodent Comet assay performed on isolated kidney cells could be used as a tool to investigate the genotoxic potential of a test compound if neoplasic/preneoplasic changes occur after subchronic or chronic treatments, in order to determine the role of genotoxicity in tumor induction. Moreover, the epigenetic carcinogens and cytotoxic compounds displayed clearly negative responses in this study. These results allow excluding a DNA direct-acting mechanism of action and can thus suggest that a threshold exists. Therefore, the current in vivo rodent Comet assay could contribute to elucidate an epigenetic mechanism and thus, to undertake a risk assessment associated with human use, depending on the exposure level.

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