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Biomarkers : biochemical indicators of exposure, response, and susceptibility to chemicals

Modified comet assay as a biomarker of sodium dichromate-induced oxidative DNA damage: optimization and reproducibility.


PMID 15370870

Abstract

Hexavalent chromium (Cr[VI]) is a genotoxic carcinogen that has been associated with an increased risk of nasal and respiratory tract cancers following occupational exposure. Although the precise mechanism(s) remain to be elucidated, there is evidence for a role of oxidative DNA damage in the genotoxicity of Cr(VI). In the current study, human white blood cells were treated in vitro with non-cytotoxic concentrations of sodium dichromate (1-100 microM) for 1 h. Analysis by immunocytochemistry indicated the presence of elevated levels of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine at concentrations of sodium dichromate greater than 10 microM. In contrast, the lowest concentration of dichromate that resulted in a statistically significant increase in levels of formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylase (FPG)-dependent DNA strand breaks was 100 nM (p<0.05). In addition, levels of both control and dichromate-induced FPG-dependent strand breaks from blood samples taken from the same individuals over 10 months proved remarkably reproducible in the individuals studied. The coefficients of variation over three different times of the year in control and dichromate-induced oxidative DNA damage for the four individuals were 54, 1, 37 and 4, and 45, 6, 21 and 18%, respectively. In summary, these results indicate that physiologically relevant, nanomolar concentrations of sodium dichromate cause DNA base oxidation in human white blood cells in vitro as assessed by the FPG-modified comet assay. Furthermore, comet assay data from an individual are reproducible over an extended period. This consistency is sufficient to suggest that the modified comet assay might prove to be a useful and sensitive biomonitoring tool for individuals occupationally exposed to hexavalent chromium.

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