Comparative genotoxicity testing of mainstream whole smoke from cigarettes which burn or heat tobacco

Mutat Res. 1990 Sep;242(1):37-45. doi: 10.1016/0165-1218(90)90097-l.


The genotoxic potential of mainstream whole smoke (MWS) from cigarettes which heat tobacco (TEST) was compared to the genotoxic potential of MWS from a cigarette which burns tobacco (REFERENCE). MWS was collected from a University of Kentucky 1R4F cigarette (REFERENCE) and two, TEST cigarettes, one with regular flavor and the other with menthol flavor. All cigarettes were smoked on a smoking machine and the particulate phase was collected on Cambridge filter pads. The vapor phase, which passed through the pad, was bubbled into a dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) trap. The filter pad was extracted with the DMSO in the trap and additional DMSO to obtain MWS. MWS representing an identical number of cigarettes was tested to make a per-cigarette comparison of their genotoxic potential. REFERENCE MWS was mutagenic and cytotoxic in the Ames assay in the presence of metabolic activation while it was cytotoxic but not mutagenic in the absence of metabolic activation. Statistically significant increases in frequency of both sister-chromatid exchanges and chromosomal aberrations were observed in Chinese hamster ovary cells exposed to REFERENCE MWS with and without metabolic activation. MWS from the TEST cigarettes, with either regular or menthol flavor, was neither cytotoxic nor mutagenic in any of these assays. In summary, MWS from the 2 TEST cigarettes was neither genotoxic nor cytotoxic under conditions where MWS from the REFERENCE cigarettes was genotoxic and/or cytotoxic in a concentration-dependent manner.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biotransformation
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide
  • Electronic Data Processing
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Mutagens*
  • Plants, Toxic
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects
  • Sister Chromatid Exchange
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco


  • Mutagens
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide