Styrene-acrylonitrile Trimer (SAN Trimer), a by-product in production of acrylonitrile styrene plastics, was identified at a Superfund site in Dover Township, NJ, where childhood cancer incidence rates were elevated for a period of several years. SAN Trimer was therefore tested by the National Toxicology Program in a 2-year perinatal carcinogenicity study in F344/N rats and a bacterial mutagenicity assay; both studies gave negative results. To further characterize its genotoxicity, SAN Trimer was subsequently evaluated in a combined micronucleus (MN)/Comet assay in juvenile male and female F344 rats. SAN Trimer (37.5, 75, 150, or 300 mg/kg/day) was administered by gavage once daily for 4 days. Micronucleated reticulocyte (MN-RET) frequencies in blood were determined by flow cytometry, and DNA damage in blood, liver, and brain cells was assessed using the Comet assay. Highly significant dose-related increases (P < 0.0001) in MN-RET were measured in both male and female rats administered SAN Trimer. The RET population was reduced in high dose male rats, suggesting chemical-related bone marrow toxicity. Results of the Comet assay showed significant, dose-related increases in DNA damage in brain cells of male (P < 0.0074) and female (P < 0.0001) rats; increased levels of DNA damage were also measured in liver cells and leukocytes of treated rats. Chemical-related cytotoxicity was not indicated in any of the tissues examined for DNA damage. The results of this subacute MN/Comet assay indicate induction of significant genetic damage in multiple tissues of weanling F344 male and female rats after oral exposure to SAN Trimer.
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