Risk assessment of a cold argon plasma jet in respect to its mutagenicity

Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen. 2016 Mar;798-799:48-54. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2016.02.003. Epub 2016 Feb 23.


Cold atmospheric pressure plasmas represent a favorable option for the treatment of heat sensitive materials and human or animal tissue. Beneficial effects have been documented in a variety of medical conditions, e.g., in the treatment of chronic wounds. It is assumed that the main mechanism of the plasma's efficacy is mediated by a stimulating dissipation of energy via radiation and/or chemical energy. Although no evidence on undesired side effects of a plasma treatment has yet been presented, skepticism toward the safety of the exposure to plasma is present. However, only little data regarding the mutagenic potential of this new treatment option is available. Accordingly, we investigated the mutagenic potential of an argon plasma jet (kinpen) using different testing systems in accordance with ISO norms and multiple cell lines: a HPRT1 mutation assay, a micronucleus formation assay, and a colony formation assay. Moderate plasma treatment up to 180 s did not increase genotoxicity in any assay or cell type investigated. We conclude that treatment with the argon plasma jet kinpen did not display a mutagenic potential under the test conditions applied and may from this perspective be regarded as safe for the use in biomedical applications.

Keywords: Biomedical application; Cold physical plasma; Colony forming assay; HPRT1 assay; Kinpen; Micronucleus assay.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Argon / toxicity*
  • Cell Line
  • Cold Temperature
  • Colony-Forming Units Assay
  • Cricetulus
  • Humans
  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase / genetics
  • Micronucleus Tests
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Plasma Gases / toxicity*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Risk Assessment


  • Mutagens
  • Plasma Gases
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Argon
  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase