The Capacity of Murine Epithelial Cell Lines with Different Degrees of Malignant Transformation to Metabolise Benzo[a]pyrene
The Comet Assay with MCL-5 Cells as an Indicator of Genotoxic Treatment with Chemicals and Cigarette Smoke Condensate
Lucie Wolz, Günter Krause and Gerhard Scherer
The metabolically competent human lymphoblastoid cell line MCL-5 was treated with a panel of mutagens to assess the induction of DNA damage. Treatment effects were observed by monitoring cell proliferation and by single-cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE). The direct-acting mutagens benzo[a]pyrene-7,8-diol 9,10-epoxide (BPDE) and 1-methyl-3-nitro-1-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG), as well as pro-mutagens requiring metabolic activation, i.e. benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), 4-N-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), and cigarette-smoke condensate (CSC), were assayed by SCGE. Assay schemes were adapted for the MCL-5 cell line and for low levels of strand break induction, by inclusion of the DNA synthesis inhibitors cytosine arabinoside and hydroxyurea, and by extending the electrophoresis time. For all mutagens tested, dose-dependent increases of median and average tail moment values among 50 nucleoids per slide were observed. The determining factors for selecting the treatment doses for mutation-induction experiments were the solubility of BaP and PhIP in the exposure medium, and the cytotoxicity exhibited by BPDE, MNNG and CSC. Induction of DNA strand breaks was obtained at mutagen concentrations permitting sufficient cell proliferation, except in the case of MNNG.
Robert D. Combes
There has been a current resurgence of interest in the use of cell transformation for predicting carcinogenicity, which is based mainly on rodent carcinogenicity data. In view of this renewed interest, this paper critically reviews the published literature concerning the ability of the available assays to detect IARC Group 1 agents (known human carcinogens) and Group 2A agents (probable human carcinogens). The predictivity of the available assays for human and rodent non-genotoxic carcinogens (NGCs), in comparison with standard and supplementary in vitro and in vivo genotoxicity tests, is also discussed. The principal finding is that a surprising number of human carcinogens have not been tested for cell transformation across the three main assays (SHE, Balb/c 3T3 and C3H10T1/2), confounding comparative assessment of these methods for detecting human carcinogens. This issue is not being addressed in the ongoing validation studies for the first two of these assays, despite the lack of any serious logistical issues associated with the use of most of these chemicals. In addition, there seem to be no plans for using exogenous bio-transformation systems for the metabolic activation of pro-carcinogens, as recommended in an ECVAM workshop held in 1999. To address these important issues, it is strongly recommended that consideration be given to the inclusion of more human carcinogens and an exogenous source of xenobiotic metabolism, such as an S9 fraction, in ongoing and future validation studies. While cell transformation systems detect a high level of NGCs, it is considered premature to rely only on this endpoint for screening for such chemicals, as recently suggested. This is particularly important, in view of the fact that there is still doubt as to the relevance of morphological transformation to tumorigenesis in vivo, and the wide diversity of potential mechanisms by which NGCs are known to act. Recent progress with regard to increasing the objectivity of scoring the transformed phenotype, and prospects for developing human cell-based transformation assays, are reviewed.