Measurement and characterization of micronuclei in cultured primary lung cells of mice following inhalation exposure to benzene

Roberte Ranaldi, Bruno Bassani, Paola Villani, Carmine Ciro Lombardi, Caterina Tanzarella, Francesca Pacchierotti

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The genotoxic effects of benzene in lung cells of mice exposed to single acute doses by inhalation have been estimated by cytogenetic analysis of micronuclei in primary cultures of lung fibroblasts. Mice were nose-only exposed to 1000 p.p.m. for 30 or 60 min or to 3500 p.p.m. for 30 min and sacrificed 24 h after the end of exposure. Lung fibroblasts were cultured attached to coverslips for 72 h, the last 48 h in the presence of 0.75 μg/ml cytochalasin B. Micronuclei were scored in binucleate cells. The mechanism(s) of micronucleus induction was characterized by immunofluorescent staining of kinetochore proteins (CREST staining), which allowed micronuclei due to chromosome loss (kinetochore-positive) to be distinguished from those produced by chromosome breakage (kinetochore-negative). Three- and 4-fold statistically significant increases in total micronucleus frequencies were observed in all benzene-exposed mice with respect to unexposed controls. The effect was neither concentration nor time dependent. This is compatible with a plateau dose-effect relationship for the effects on bone marrow, which is explained by saturation of metabolism. Both chromosome loss and chromosome breakage appear to contribute to micronucleus formation, suggesting that in addition to chromosome rearrangements, aneuploidy may be a relevant early genotoxic event associated with benzene carcinogenicity. Under the same treatment conditions no micronucleus induction could be shown in spleen lymphocytes, suggesting that with very short benzene exposures cells at the first contact site with local metabolizing capacity have a higher probability of genetic alterations potentially leading to neoplasia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453 - 460
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1998
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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