Indexed on: 24 Jun '99Published on: 24 Jun '99Published in: Inhalation toxicology
Single-strand breaks (SSBs) in DNA have been used a biomarker of oxidative damage. The comet assay, also known as single-cell gel electrophoresis, was used to investigate the ability of ozone (O(3)) to induce DNA SSBs in murine bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells. The comet assay is more sensitive than other techniques currently utilized for detecting SSBs and requires fewer cells. In the present study, 3 mice were exposed for 3 h to 0.25 ppm of O(3), and 3 to 0.5 ppm of O(3) for 3 h. Two air-exposed mice served as negative controls. All mice were euthanized 3 h after exposure, at which time BAL cells were recovered from the lungs and stained with ethidium bromide. BAL cells recovered from an air-exposed mouse were exposed to various concentrations of H(2)O(2) in vitro for 1 h at 4 degrees C. Excluding cells from the H(2)O(2) group (n = 25), 50 randomly selected BAL cells were graded by comet tail length into 1 of 4 categories: no damage (0 mm), low damage (1-10 mm), medium damage (11-30 mm), and high damage (31 + mm). The nonparametric Wilcoxon rank-sum test was used for statistical analysis, and p values lower than .05 were considered significant. The H(2)O(2) and the 0.25 and 0.5 ppm O3 groups showed statistically significant increases in DNA SSBs as compared to air-exposed controls. The results of this study indicate that (1) O(3) induces DNA strand breaks in murine BAL cells at 0.25 and 0.5 ppm, as evidenced by statistically significant increases in the length of comet tails for O(3)-exposed groups, and (2) the comet assay can be used to assess O(3)-induced SSBs for in vivo exposures. Therefore, it has the potential as a biomarker for in vivo oxidant exposures.