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Detection of mineral-dust-induced DNA damage in two mammalian cell lines using the alkaline single cell gel/comet assay.

Zhong BZ; Whong W; Ong T
Mutat Res 1997 Oct; 393(3):181-187
It has been estimated that over three million workers in the USA are potentially exposed to silica or other mineral dusts. Results of epidemiological studies evaluating whether silica or glass fibers increase lung cancer risk to the exposed workers are inconclusive. Detection of DNA damage in cells exposed to genotoxic agents is being used to assess the carcinogenic potential of environmental agents. The alkaline (pH > 13) single cell gel/comet (SCG) assay was used to determine and compare DNA damage in cultured Chinese hamster lung fibroblasts (V79 cells) and human embryonic lung fibroblasts (Hel 299 cells) exposed to crystalline silica (Min-U-Sil 5), amorphous silica (Spherisorb), carbon black, and glass fibers (AAA-10). V79 or Hel 299 cells were exposed to these mineral dusts for 3 h at various concentrations. Min-U-Sil 5 and AAA-10, at almost all concentrations tested, caused a significant increase in DNA migration measured as tail length in both V79 and Hel 299 exposed cells. However, the increase was much higher in V79 then in Hel 299 cells for Min-U-Sil 5. Tail length was also increased relative to controls after amorphous silica treatment, but not to the same extent as that induced by crystalline silica. Exposure to carbon black did not induce DNA migration at any of the concentrations tested. These results indicate that silica and glass fibers, but not carbon black, can induce DNA damage in mammalian cells, and that crystalline silica has a higher DNA-damaging activity than amorphous silica. For glass fibers, induction of DNA damage in both V79 and Hel 299 cells was observed even at a concentration 10 times lower than silica and the response was similar in both cell lines. These results suggest that the SCG/comet assay is useful for the detection of DNA damage caused by occupationally related dusts/particles.
Silicates; Silica-dusts; Silicosis; Mineral-dusts; Glass-products; Lung-cancer; Lung-disease; Lung-disorders; Lung-fibrosis; Lung-function; Lung-irritants; DNA-damage; Author Keywords: DNA damage; Silica; Spherisorb; Carbon black; Glass fiber; V79 cells; Hel 299 cells; Alkaline single cell gel assay
14808-60-7; 1333-86-4
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
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NIOSH Division
Source Name
Mutation Research
Page last reviewed: November 6, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division