Current in vitro mammalian cell genotoxicity assays show a high rate of positive results, many of which are misleading when compared with in vivo genotoxicity or rodent carcinogenicity data. P53-deficiency in many of the rodent cell lines may be a key factor in this poor predictivity. As part of an European Cosmetics Industry Association initiative for improvement of in vitro mammalian cell assays, we have compared several rodent cell lines (V79, CHL, CHO) with p53-competent human peripheral blood lymphocytes (HuLy), TK6 human lymphoblastoid cells, and the human liver cell line, HepG2. We have compared in vitro micronucleus (MN) induction following treatment with 19 compounds that were accepted as producing misleading or "false" positive results in in vitro mammalian cell assays . Of these, six chemicals (2-ethyl-1,3-hexandiol, benzyl alcohol, urea, sodium saccharin, sulfisoxazole and isobutyraldehyde) were not toxic and did not induce any MN at concentrations up to 10mM. d,l-Menthol and ethionamide induced cytotoxicity, but did not induce MN. o-Anthranilic acid was not toxic and did not induce MN in V79, CHL, CHO, HuLy and HepG2 cells up to 10mM. Toxicity was induced in TK6 cells, although there were no increases in MN frequency up to and above the 55% toxicity level. The other 10 chemicals (1,3-dihydroxybenzene, curcumin, propyl gallate, p-nitrophenol, ethyl acrylate, eugenol, tert-butylhydroquinone, 2,4-dichlorophenol, sodium xylene sulfonate and phthalic anhydride) produced cytotoxicity in at least one cell type, and were evaluated further for MN induction in most or all of the cell types listed above. All these chemicals induced MN at concentrations <10mM, with levels of cytotoxicity below 60% (measured as the replication index) in at least one cell type. The rodent cell lines (V79, CHO and CHL) were consistently more susceptible to cytotoxicity and MN induction than p53-competent cells, and are therefore more susceptible to giving misleading positive results. These data suggest that a reduction in the frequency of misleading positive results can be achieved by careful selection of the mammalian cell type for genotoxicity testing.
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