Nutritional supplement chromium picolinate generates chromosomal aberrations and impedes progeny development in Drosophila melanogaster.

Research paper by Dontarie M DM Stallings, Dion D D DD Hepburn, Meredith M Hannah, John B JB Vincent, Janis J O'Donnell

Indexed on: 05 Aug '06Published on: 05 Aug '06Published in: Mutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis


Chromium picolinate, [Cr(pic)(3)], is a popular nutritional supplement found in a variety of consumer products. Despite its popularity, safety concerns over its use have arisen. The supplement has been shown to generate clastogenic damage, mitochondrial damage, oxidative damage, and mutagenic effects in cultured cells and oxidative DNA damage and lipid peroxidation in rats. Recently [Cr(pic)(3)] has been demonstrated to generate heritable genetic change and delays in progeny development in Drosophila melanogaster. Based on the damage to chromosomes of cultured cells and of animal models, similar chromosome damage appeared to be a likely source of the mutagenic effects of the supplement in Drosophila. The current three-part study examines the effects of several chromium-containing supplements and their components on hatching and eclosion rates and success of development of first generation progeny of adult Drosophila fed food containing these compounds. It further examines the effects of the compounds on longevity of virgin male and female adults. Finally, the chromosomes in the salivary glands of Drosophila late in the third instar larval stage, which were the progeny of Drosophila whose diets were supplemented with nutritional levels of [Cr(pic)(3)], are shown to contain on average over one chromosomal aberration per two identifiable chromosomal arms. No aberrations were observed in chromosomes of progeny of untreated flies. The results suggest that human consumption of the supplement should be a matter of concern and continued investigation to provide insight into the requirements of chromium-containing supplements to give rise to genotoxic effects.