This study examined the transforming activities of nitrosated and nonnitrosated coal dust extracts in BALB/3T3 clone A31-1-13 cells. At a concentration of 2.08 milligrams/milliliter (mg/ml) coal dust, the cloning efficiency of the BALB/3T3 cells was about 50%. A dose dependent reduction in cloning efficiency by both nitrosated and nonnitrosated extracts was noted at concentrations ranging from 0.26 to 8.3mg/ml. In the transformation experiments morphological transformation was induced both by nitrosated and nonnitrosated coal dust extracts. The number of transformed foci in the coal dust extract treated cultures was higher than background levels. A dose related response was noted which was about 1.5 to 2.3 fold higher with nitrosated than with nonnitrosated coal dust extract. The growth rate of the coal dust extract transformed cells was higher than that of normal BALB/3T3 cells. The maximum growth density of transformed cells was 2.7 times than that of the nontransformed cells. When cells from transformed foci were plated in soft agar medium, colonies developed. There was no effect of initial seeding density on CFE in soft agar medium. The average CFE of the transformed cells in soft agar medium ranged from 8.7% to 11.2%, which was significantly higher than the 0.23 to 0.6% of nontransformed cells. The authors concluded that coal dust extracts with or without nitrosation are capable of inducing morphological transformation in BALB/3T3 cells in a dose response manner. These findings support a hypothesis of coal mine dust causation of gastric cancer in coal miners.
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