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Evaluation Of The In Vitro Direct And Indirect Genotoxic Effects Of Cobalt Compounds Using The Alkaline Comet Assay. Influence Of Interdonor And Interexperimental Variability.

M. De Boeck, D. Lison, M. Kirsch-Volders
Published 1998 · Chemistry, Medicine

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The mechanisms of cobalt-induced pulmonary interstitial fibrosis and cancer are incompletely understood. DNA damage, either induced by genotoxic (direct or via oxygen radicals) or co-genotoxic (e.g. inhibition of DNA repair) processes may play an important role in the initiation of cancer. The alkaline comet assay provides a sensitive tool to investigate these two processes. Cobalt metal, a mixture of cobalt with tungsten carbide and cobalt chloride, were compared for their DNA-damaging capacity. Concentrations from 0 to 6.0 microg Co-equivalent/ml were tested. All three compounds were able to induce DNA damage in isolated human lymphocytes from three donors, in a dose- and time-dependent way. A relatively large interexperimental and interdonor variability in response was observed. This was ascribed to technical parameters and unidentified individual factors. This confirms the importance of repeating experiments using the same and different donors. The DNA-damaging potential of the cobalt-tungsten carbide mixture was higher than that of cobalt metal and cobalt chloride, which had comparable responses. No significant increase of DNA migration was observed when the DNA of cells treated with cobalt metal, cobalt-tungsten carbide or tungsten carbide were incubated with the oxidative lesion-specific enzyme formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylase. This suggests that during the short treatment period no substantial oxidative damage to DNA was produced. Cobalt metal was able to inhibit the repair of methylmethanesulphonate-induced DNA damage. This was concluded from simultaneous exposure to cobalt and methyl methanesulphonate, post-incubation and post-treatment with 1.2 microg/ml cobalt of methyl methanesulphonate-treated cells.
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