Relationships among micronuclei, nucleoplasmic bridges and nuclear buds within individual cells in the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay

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Micronuclei have been used extensively in studies as an easily evaluated indicator of DNA damage but little is known about their association with other types of damage such as nucleoplasmic bridges and nuclear buds. Here, radiation-induced clastogenic events were evaluated via the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay in two normal human lymphoblastoid cell lines exposed to neutrons or γ-radiation. DNA damage induced by the chemical agents mitomycin C and phleomycin was also evaluated in two normal and two mitochondrial mutant human lymphoblastoid cell lines. In addition to micronuclei, nucleoplasmic bridges and nuclear buds were enumerated by recording the coincident presence of these end points within individual cells, and the associations among these three end points were evaluated for all treatment conditions. The common odds ratios for micronuclei and nucleoplasmic bridges were found to be significantly larger than unity, indicating that the presence of one or more micronuclei in a cell imposes a significant risk of having one or more nucleoplasmic bridges in that same cell, and vice versa. The strength of this association did not change significantly with radiation dose or concentration of the chemical clastogens. Common odds ratios for association between micronuclei and buds, and between bridges and buds were also found to be significantly higher than unity. However, associations between micronuclei and buds could not be calculated for some treatments due to heterogeneity in the odds ratios and hence may depend on chemical clastogen concentration or radiation dose. This study provides evidence of how paired analyses among genetic end points in the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay can provide information concerning abnormalities of cell division and possibly about structural chromosomal rearrangements induced by clastogens.

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