Cycloheximide and disulfoton are positive in the photoclastogencity assay but do not absorb UV irradiation: another example of pseudophotoclastogenicity?

PMID 18227081


There is considerable concern regarding the biological plausibility of the response of certain chemicals in the in vitro photoclastogenicity assay, suggesting that this assay is oversensitive and lacks specificity. To explore this further, four coded compounds (aminotriazole, propantheline bromide, cycloheximide and disulfoton) were evaluated for their potential response in a photoclastogenicity assay in cultured Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. None of the four compounds were shown to absorb ultraviolet radiation (UVR) or visible light in the 290- to 700-nm region of the electromagnetic spectrum. A fifth coded compound, tetracycline, which absorbs UVR, was also tested as this has previously been shown to be phototoxic in vitro (3T3-NRU assay) and is cytotoxic, but not genotoxic, at high concentrations in standard 'dark' genotoxicity assays in mammalian cells. The results showed that cycloheximide, disulfoton and tetracycline were clastogenic in CHO cells following UVR exposure (solar-simulated light at 700 mJ/cm(2)) but not in the absence of UVR. Aminotriazole and propantheline were negative in the presence and absence of UVR exposure. Follow-up testing showed that neither cycloheximide nor disulfoton was positive in the 3T3-NRU assay, the standard in vitro regulatory test for phototoxicity, a result consistent with their inability to absorb UVR. These data suggest that both cycloheximide and disulfoton are pseudophotoclastogens, like zinc oxide. Together, these data question the specificity of the in vitro photoclastogencity assay in CHO cells and raises further concern regarding its use for the assessment of chemical photosafety for regulatory purposes. At the very least, a review of the current guidance documents for the photosafety evaluation of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics should be undertaken urgently.

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Disulfoton, PESTANAL®, analytical standard