Applications of the comet assay in particle toxicology: air pollution and engineered nanomaterials exposure

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Exposure to ambient air particles is associated with elevated levels of DNA strand breaks (SBs) and endonuclease III, formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylase (FPG) and oxoguanine DNA glycosylase-sensitive sites in cell cultures, animals and humans. In both animals and cell cultures, increases in SB and in oxidatively damaged DNA are seen after exposure to a range of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), including carbon black, carbon nanotubes, fullerene C60, ZnO, silver and gold. Exposure to TiO2 has generated mixed data with regard to SB and oxidatively damaged DNA in cell cultures. Nanosilica does not seem to be associated with generation of FPG-sensitive sites in cell cultures, while large differences in SB generation between studies have been noted. Single-dose airway exposure to nanosized carbon black and multi-walled carbon nanotubes in animal models seems to be associated with elevated DNA damage levels in lung tissue in comparison to similar exposure toTiO2 and fullerene C60. Oral exposure has been associated with augmented DNA damage levels in cells of internal organs, although the doses have been typically very high. Intraveneous and intraperitoneal injection of ENMs have shown contradictory results dependent on the type of ENM and dose in each set of experiments. In conclusion, the exposure to both combustion-derived particles and ENMs is associated with increased levels of DNA damage in the comet assay. Particle size, composition and crystal structure of ENM are considered important determinants of toxicity, whereas their combined contributions to genotoxicity in the comet assay are yet to be thoroughly investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)67-83
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 129168724