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Genotoxicity of chromium in human gastric mucosa cells and peripheral blood lymphocytes evaluated by the single cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay).

A Trzeciak, J Kowalik, E Małecka-Panas, J Drzewoski, M Wojewódzka, T Iwaneńko, J Błasiak

Med Sci Monit 2000; 6(1): BR24-29

ID: 495215

Available online:


Hexavalent chromium compounds are well-recognized carcinogens. They easily penetrate the cell membrane and are reduced inside the cell to their trivalent form, which is supposed to react directly with DNA. Chromium is present in some workplaces as well as in water resources and food chain, so it can interact with the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract. In order to elucidate the genotoxic potency of chromium in human gastric mucosa (GM) cells, the DNA-damaging effect of potassium dichromate (K2Cr2O7) was investigated using alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay). Biopsy samples were obtained during gastroscopy from macroscopically healthy tissue of the stomach. Parallel test with human peripheral blood lymphocytes was also performed. Both types of cells were incubated at 37 degrees C with 1.6 mM of K2Cr2O7 for 1 h and after washing, were placed in a chromium-free medium to examine DNA repair. Alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay) was used to assess DNA damage and repair. Chromium introduced a damage to DNA both in the GM cells and lymphocytes. The effect induced by K2Cr2O7 in GM cells was comparable with that caused in the lymphocytes. Treated cells were able to recover within a 60-min incubation in a chromium-free medium at 37 degrees C. The results obtained indicate that hexavalent chromium compounds, which may be found in the diet, can interact directly with DNA of the mucosa of the stomach.

Keywords: gastric mucosa cells