Peer-Reviewed Publications

      Development of an integrated assay in human TK6 cells to permit comprehensive genotoxicity analysis in vitro

      Smart, D. J.; Helbling, F. R.; Verardo, M.; Huber, A.; McHugh, D.; Vanscheeuwijck, P.
      Dec 12, 2019

      In vitro genetic toxicology assays are used to assess the genotoxic potential of chemicals or mixtures. They measure chromosome damage (e.g., micronucleus [MN] formation) or gene mutation, and different combinations of data generated from such assays are evaluated in concert in order to identify genotoxic hazards. Mode-of-action (MoA) information is also fundamental to understanding any apparent genotoxic response. In view of the importance of these types of data for full characterization of genotoxic potential, we leveraged relevant endpoints already established in the human TK6 cell line to develop a single integrated assay that measures MN formation, gene mutation (at the thymidine kinase locus), and MoA (DNA damage response biomarkers). Several prototypical direct-acting genotoxins (methyl methanesulfonate, mitomycin C, and 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide), pro-genotoxins (benzo[a]pyrene and cyclophosphamide monohydrate), and one non-DNA reactive genotoxin (vinblastine sulfate) were assessed in the approach and found to elicit genotoxic profiles that were generally consistent with their MoA. In contrast, the non-genotoxic agents D-mannitol and (2-chloroethyl) trimethyl-ammonium chloride induced negligible effects on all endpoints up to a top concentration of 10 mM. Sodium diclofenac, presumed to be non-genotoxic, provoked an induction in the phosphoserine10-H3-positive cell population within a small window of concentrations (0.157–0.314 mM), as well as increases in γH2AX, nuclear p53, and MN at higher concentrations, although it had no effect on the mutation frequency endpoint. G2M cell cycle arrest was also largely observed in cells that exhibited genotoxicity in the in vitro MN assay. The TK6 cell-based integrated assay represents an in vitro approach that permits comprehensive genotoxicity analysis in a human-relevant test system. Moreover, its vis-à-vis nature may facilitate further comprehension of the range of effects that can manifest in human cells in response to DNA-damaging agents.