Metabolism and genotoxicity of the halogenated alkyl compound tris(2,3-dibromopropyl)phosphate

Hum Exp Toxicol. 1994 Dec;13(12):861-5. doi: 10.1177/096032719401301208.


1. The genotoxicity of the flame retardant tris(2,3-dibromopropyl)phosphate (Tris-BP) was studied in vivo. Results showed that Tris-BP was highly clastogenic, but it could only initiate a low number of preneoplastic foci in the rat liver in vivo. In Drosophila, Tris-BP could be classified as a cross-linking agent, because it was more clastogenic than mutagenic. The use of completely deuterated Tris-BP as a metabolic probe revealed that cytochrome P450 and most likely the formation of 2-bromoacrolein (2BA) from Tris-BP is important for the observed genotoxic effects. 2. In contrast to the high mutagenicity of Tris-BP and 2BA in Salmonella typhimurium, we were unable to detect an increase in mutation frequency of 2BA on the hprt locus of human TK6 cell line. In another system, using a shuttle vector modified with 2BA:DNA-adducts, also no increase in mutation frequency could be detected in human cells. This low mutagenicity of 2BA corresponds with its low mutagenicity in Drosophila and its low induction of preneoplastic foci in the rat liver. 3. Several DNA adducts of 2BA have been identified, including an unstable 3-(bromooxypropyl)thymidine adduct which has the potential to form cross-links and a cyclic 3,N4-(bromo)propeno-deoxycytidine adduct which can possibly be involved in the clastogenicity of Tris-BP. 4. Taken together, these data indicate that Tris-BP and 2BA may not effectively induce gene mutations in eukaryotic systems, but rather be potent clastogens. Risk assessment of these and related compounds should therefore be based on the knowledge of clastogens rather than mutagens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acrolein / analogs & derivatives*
  • Acrolein / metabolism
  • Acrolein / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Carcinogens / metabolism
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • DNA Adducts / genetics
  • DNA Adducts / metabolism
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Repair / drug effects
  • DNA Repair / genetics
  • Drosophila / drug effects
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Flame Retardants / metabolism
  • Flame Retardants / toxicity*
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Mutagens / metabolism
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Oligonucleotides / chemistry
  • Organophosphates / metabolism
  • Organophosphates / toxicity*
  • Rats


  • Carcinogens
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • DNA Adducts
  • Flame Retardants
  • Mutagens
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Organophosphates
  • tris(2,3-dibromopropyl)phosphate
  • 2-bromoacrolein
  • Acrolein