Use of primary blood cells for the assessment of exposure to occupational genotoxicants in human biomonitoring studies

Floriane Faust, Fekadu Kassie, Siegfried Knasmüller, Sebastian Kevekordes, Volker Mersch-Sundermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Comet assay is an often used approach for the assessment of genetic damage in primary cells of exposed populations. In the majority of these studies lymphocytes are used. Therefore, we reviewed human biomonitoring studies of occupational exposure using the Comet assay with lymphocytes. We also tried to elucidate the strengths of the studies, which were that (i) data could be obtained in a fast and cost-effective manner, (ii) the ease at which these cells can be collected and (iii) a remarkable concordance between Comet assay and cytogenetic assays. However, the analysis also revealed some shortcomings: (i) the low number of study participants, (ii) the bias in the distribution of gender, (iii) lack of qualitative and quantitative exposure data, (iv) omission to consider differences in physical activity and diet between control and exposed groups, (v) lack of uniformity in the Comet assay procedures, and (vi) controversy in the sensitivity of Comet assay since it picked up DNA damage caused by agents which were found to be weak genotoxicants or non-genotoxicants in other tests, but gave inconsistent results with known mutagens/carcinogens such as cigarette smoke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-350
Number of pages10
JournalToxicology
Volume198
Issue number1-3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 20 2004

Keywords

  • Comet assay
  • Human biomonitoring
  • Human lymphocytes
  • Occupational exposure

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