Skip to main content

Genotoxicity of nano/microparticles in in vitro micronuclei, in vivo comet and mutation assay systems



Recently, manufactured nano/microparticles such as fullerenes (C60), carbon black (CB) and ceramic fiber are being widely used because of their desirable properties in industrial, medical and cosmetic fields. However, there are few data on these particles in mammalian mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. To examine genotoxic effects by C60, CB and kaolin, an in vitro micronuclei (MN) test was conducted with human lung cancer cell line, A549 cells. In addition, DNA damage and mutations were analyzed by in vivo assay systems using male C57BL/6J or gpt delta transgenic mice which were intratracheally instilled with single or multiple doses of 0.2 mg per animal of particles.


In in vitro genotoxic analysis, increased MN frequencies were observed in A549 cells treated with C60, CB and kaolin in a dose-dependent manner. These three nano/microparticles also induced DNA damage in the lungs of C57BL/6J mice measured by comet assay. Moreover, single or multiple instillations of C60 and kaolin, increased either or both of gpt and Spi- mutant frequencies in the lungs of gpt delta transgenic mice. Mutation spectra analysis showed transversions were predominant, and more than 60% of the base substitutions occurred at G:C base pairs in the gpt genes. The G:C to C:G transversion was commonly increased by these particle instillations.


Manufactured nano/microparticles, CB, C60 and kaolin, were shown to be genotoxic in in vitro and in vivo assay systems.


Nano/microparticles are widely used because of their desirable properties in industrial, medical and cosmetic fields [16]. Accordingly, these particles can be released into the human environment and then can be inhaled. Most exposure to airborne nano/micromaterials occurs in the work place. Nano/microparticles can be classified into three groups: natural, anthropogenic and man-made (or artificial). The natural kind, for example, is produced during forest fires or volcanic eruptions. Anthropogenic particles are quite often a by-product of industrial activities such as welding or polishing. Diesel exhaust products, PM10 and PM2.5, well known as combustion nanoparticles, also belong to this group. The man-made group includes engineered nanomaterials [5].

Among these nano/mocroparticles, diesel exhaust particles have been well documented, in their general toxicity, mutagenicity and carcinogenicity [710]. In addition, asbestos, a naturally occurring nano-sized silicate mineral fiber, has been considered to be a human carcinogen [1113]. Animal experiments and epidemiological studies have already demonstrated that pulmonary fibrosis, bronchogenic carcinomas and malignant mesotheliomas are closely associated with asbestos exposure. Another mineral fiber, titanium dioxide (TiO2) has also been subjected to extensive research, and TiO2 has already been shown to be carcinogenic [14]. Moreover, man-made vitreous fibres, including glass fibres, refractory ceramic fibres, and rock wool, have been sorted as carcinogens [15]. Kaolin/kaolinite is a clay mineral with the chemical composition Al2Si2O5(OH)4, and is used in ceramics, medicines, food additives, toothpaste and cosmetics. The largest use of kaolin is in the production of paper [3]. In 1993, W. B. Bunn 3rd et al. reported that increased incidences of lung tumors and mesotheliomas were observed in long-term inhalation studies of rats and hamsters treated with micro-sized refractory ceramic fibres containing kaolin as the main component [16]. However, other genotoxic and carcinogenic potentials of kaolin have not been studied in vitro and in vivo. In addition, the mechanism of cancer development by kaolin is still unclear.

On the other hand, carbon black (CB), fullerenes (C60) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are developed as engineered nanoproducts [1, 2, 6, 17]. Despite their highly desirable structures, their toxicity and carcinogenicity are concerns because these engineered nanoproducts are considered to be very stable and could lead to continuous inflammation when deposited in tissues. CNTs especially have received much attention from the aspect of toxicity due to their asbestos-like rod-shaped particles, and iron content [1719]. Recently Takagi et al. demonstrated that multi-wall carbon nanotubes induced mesothelioma in p53+/- mice by a single i.p. injection [20]. In contrast, C60 is a spherical molecule consisting entirely of carbon atoms, and various derivatives have been reported [6, 21, 22]. C60 has widely different properties, such as scavenging of reactive oxygen species, direct interaction with biomolecules and radical formation; however, clear genotoxic and carcinogenic effects have not yet been demonstrated.

The present study aims to examine the genotoxicity/clastogenicity of widely distributed nano/microparticles such as C60, CB and kaolin by an in vitro micronucleus test. Moreover, we analyzed the genotoxic effects of these particles by an in vivo comet assay and mutation assay system using gpt delta transgenic mice. In this mouse model, point mutations and deletions are separately analyzable by gpt and Spi- selections, respectively [23, 24]. The mutation assay using the gpt delta mouse was validated and so far is widely used in the field of environmental mutagenicity.


Size distribution and agglomeration state in suspensions of nano/microparticles

Figure 1 shows representative transmission electron microscope (TEM) images for the state of test materials dispersed in saline containing 0.05% Tween 80. These were commonly observed to be a mixture of well dispersed fine particles and agglomerates. C60 was frequently agglomerated, but fine particles were also observed either individually or within pear-shaped agglomerates. In contrast, CB was relatively well dispersed, and agglomerates were occasionally present. In the case of kaolin, low-density tabular structures with rectangular or hexagonal shape were characteristically observed. The size distribution of materials used in the present study was analyzed by dynamic light scattering (DLS). C60 demonstrated a wide distribution with ranges of 10.5 to 12913.9 nm, and most abundant sizes were two peaks at 234.1 ± 48.9 and 856.5 ± 119.2 nm, respectively. CB particles formed a normal distribution with ranges of 13.6 to 337.4 nm and major peak average was at around 232.0 nm. In the case of kaolin, a major peak average was 357.6 ± 199.4 nm belonging to a range of 5.1 to 4846.9 nm. Although the primary particle size of kaolin was 4.8 μm, it is likely that sonication might lead to size reduction.

Figure 1

Representative TEM images of the presently used nano/microparticles within the suspensions. C60 (PanelA), CB (Panel B) and kaolin (Panel C) were suspended in saline containing 0.05% Tween 80 at a concentration of 2 mg/mL with a 10 min sonication. All images are shown at the original magnification of × 10,000.

In vitro micronucleus test

To examine the genotoxicity of particles, we analyzed the micronucleus inducing activity of C60, CB and kaolin using human lung cancer cell line, A549. A six-hour treatment of 200 μg/mL CB and kaolin caused growth inhibition of 60% in A549 cells; however, C60 did not inhibit growth of cells at any concentrations (between 0.02 - 200 μg/mL, data not shown). As shown in Figure 2, C60 and kaolin particles increased the number of micronucleated cells in a dose-dependent manner. On the other hand, CB increased the number of micronucleated cells up to 2 μg/mL, and thereafter seemed to plateau. The background frequency of micronucleated cells was 0.7% to 1.0%, and the frequency rose to 10% and 5% at 200 μg/mL of C60 and kaolin, respectively, and 3.3% at 2 μg/mL of CB treatment. The increase of the frequency from that of the control cells was statistically significant in all particle-treated cells. C60 demonstrated the most strong genotoxic/clastogenic potencies among these three particles.

Figure 2

Frequency of micronucleated A549 cells incubated with C 60 CB or kaolin. The values represent the mean of three experiments ± SD. An asterisk (*) represents that each frequency is significantly different (p < 0.01) from that of control cell in a Student's t-test. Concentrations in μg/cm2 are given in parenthesis.

In vivo genotoxicity analyzed by alkaline comet assay

DNA damage induced by particles was evaluated using comet assay under alkaline conditions. Figure 3 shows the mean values of DNA tail moment in the lungs with or without single-particle treatment at 0.2 mg/body for 3 hr. In the case of particle exposure, DNA damage was significantly increased as compared with the vehicle control up to 2 - 3 fold, and its intensity was C60 > CB > kaolin. On the other hand, we examined the genotoxicity of nano/microparticles at a dose of 0.05 mg/animal. DNA damage observed in the lung of mice was almost the same as those of the vehicle control (data not shown). Moreover, we examined the effects of different exposure times for 3 and 24 hr. While DNA damages induced by CB or kaolin were not changed either for 3 or 24 hr, DNA damage caused by C60 was decreased for 24 hr compared with 3 hr (data not shown). It seems that DNA damage repair enzymes might affect the result of comet assay.

Figure 3

DNA damage in lungs of C57BL/6J mice intratracheally instilled with particles. DNA damage was measured by comet assay. Male mice were treated at a dose of 0.2 mg per animal of particles, and mice were sacrificed 3 hr after particle administrations. The values represent the mean of five animals ± SE. An asterisk (*) denotes p < 0.01 in a Dunnett's test after one-way ANOVA of Tail Moment of particle-treated vs. corresponding vehicle-control mice.

General observations of gpt delta transgenic mice administrated with particles

Body weights of gpt delta mice receiving a single dose of vehicle control reached 31.1 ± 1.8 g at 12 weeks after instillation. Values for gpt delta mice which received a single dose of particles at 0.2 mg/body were 30.0 ± 2.4 g for C60, 32.6 ± 1.1 g for CB and 30.8 ± 2.3 g for kaolin, respectively, at 12 weeks after instillation. The average consumption of diet per day per mouse was 3.6 g, with no effects from particle instillation. No body weight and diet consumption changes were also observed with multiple doses of particles. All mice used for the single dose study survived to the end of the study, although, in the case of multiple doses, one fullerene- and one kaolin-administrated mouse died within two weeks after the last instillation, probably due to respiratory disturbances.

gpt Mutations in the lungs of gpt transgenic mice with particle treatment

To determine the mutagenic effects of particles in the lungs, gpt delta transgenic mice were exposed to C60, CB and kaolin at doses of 0.2 mg/body by single intratracheal instillation, and mutations were analyzed. Figure 3 shows the mutant frequencies (MFs) of the lungs. The background MF of lungs was 10.30 ± 0.53 × 10-6. MFs in the lungs induced by C60 and kaolin were significantly increased by 2-fold compared with vehicle-instilled animals. CB showed increasing tendency for MF in the lungs, but not statistically significant.

Next, we examined the mutagenic effects of consecutive exposure of particles. The gpt MFs in the lungs obtained from mice multiply exposed (4 times) to 0.2 mg/body each of C60, CB or kaolin are shown in Figure 4. In cases of C60 and kaolin, MFs of the lungs were significantly higher as compared to those of control animals, and their values were 2 - 3 fold increased. In the case of CB exposure, MFs were slightly increased but not statistically significant.

Figure 4

gpt MFs in the lungs of mice singly and multiply intratracheally instilled with particles. Male mice were treated with single (0.2 mg per animal) or multiple (0.2 mg per animal × 4) doses of particles, and mice were sacrificed 12 (single) and 8 (multiple) weeks after particle administrations. Mean values ± SD are shown. An asterisk (*, **) denotes p < 0.05 (*) and p < 0.01 (**) in a Student's t-test of MF of particle-treated vs. the corresponding vehicle-control mice.

To analyze the mutational characteristics induced by particles, we examined PCR and DNA sequencing analysis of 6-thioguanine (6-TG)-resistant mutants. More than 40 independent 6-TG resistant mutants derived from multiple particle instillation (0.2 mg × 4), and 25 mutants from vehicle instilled animals were identified. Classes of mutations found in the gpt gene are listed in Table 1. Base substitutions predominated with both particle-induced and spontaneous cases. No A:T to T:A and G:C to C:G transversions were detected in vehicle control groups, indicating that these types of mutations are rare events in the spontaneous mutations. Interestingly, G:C to C:G transversion commonly increased in all three particle treatments compared to the vehicle control. G:C to A:T transition also significantly increased in CB and kaolin instillation but not in C60. In addition, the numbers of A:T to T:A transversion were slightly increased in the treatment with C60 and CB. Other types of mutations, including deletions and insertions, were also observed in both particle-treated and vehicle control groups, but these were of minor significance.

Table 1 Classification of gpt mutations from the lungs of control and particle multiply (0.2 mg × 4) treated micea)

The distribution of spontaneous and particle-induced mutations in the gpt gene is shown in Figure 5. Base substitutions were spread throughout the coding region with a preference for some sites. However, clear mutational hotspots for each particle could not be seen except deletion mutations occurring at a run of 5 adenines (positions 8 to 12) and at position 244 for C60 treatment. The distribution of base substitutions along the gpt gene did not vary with the particle types. Twelve out of 200 particle-induced mutations occurred at position 64, eighteen at position 110, ten at position 115. All of the base substitutions occurring at positions 110 and 115 were G to A transitions, and at position 64 were C to T transitions, which were common among spontaneous mutants. In contrast, four to eight mutations occurred at positions 116, 143, 189, 320, 406 and 418 were only seen in the particle-treated mice, therefore it is suggested that these mutations can be considered as particle-induced mutations. Among these, five out of six mutations at position 406 were found in C60 instillation, and all mutation patterns were G to T transversions. Four out of 7 and five out of 8 at positions 189 and 418 were detected in kaolin instillation, and the majorities of the mutations were G to A and C to A, respectively. Moreover, these hotspots induced by particles occurred at G or C residues in the gpt gene without association for specific sequences.

Figure 5

Spontaneous and particle-induced mutations in the coding region of the gpt gene. Mutations obtained from the control mice are shown above the wild type sequence, and mutations obtained from the particle-treated mutant clone are shown below the wild type sequence. The types of particles are indicated by color coding: red for C60, blue for CB and sky blue for kaolin. Mutation types, base substitution, and deletion and insertion are indicated by circle, triangle, and inverted triangle, respectively.

Spi-MFs in the lungs of gpt transgenic mice with particle treatment

We also measured the Spi- MFs in the lungs of gpt delta mice instilled with multiple doses (0.2 mg × 4) of particles (Figure 6). Spi- MFs of the vehicle control was 4.85 ± 2.04 × 10-6, in contrast, particle-administrated groups were 4.91 ± 3.03 × 10-6 for C60, 6.87 ± 4.06 × 10-6 for CB and 8.12 ± 3.32 × 10-6 for kaolin. As shown in Figure 6, Spi- MFs in the lungs of the CB- and kaolin-treated, but not C60-treated groups were increased, and in particular, the values of the kaolin-treated groups were significantly elevated up to 2-fold.

Figure 6

MFs of deletions in the lungs of gpt delta mice exposed to multiple doses of particles. An asterisk (*) denotes p < 0.05 in a Student's t-test of MFs of particle-treated vs. the corresponding vehicle-control mice.

gpt Mutations in the kidneys of gpt transgenic mice with particle treatment

To determine the tissue distribution and specificity of particles with intratracheal instillation, gpt MFs of the kidney were analyzed. gpt MFs of the vehicle control versus particle-multiple administrated groups (0.2 mg × 4) were 1.33 ± 0.51 × 10-5 versus 1.67 ± 0.66 × 10-5 for C60, 1.03 ± 0.39 × 10-5 for CB and 1.32 ± 0.32 × 10-5 for kaolin. From these observations, it is suggested that these particles did not induce mutation in the kidneys under these conditions.

Histopathological evaluation

Histopathological analyses of lung tissues of gpt delta mice consecutively instilled particles, C60, CB and kaolin, at 0.2 mg/body per week for 4 weeks each are shown in Figure 7. Test substances-phagocytized alveolar macrophages were diffusely found in the lungs, but not in the vehicle group. Focal granulomatous formation accompanied with or without the test substance-phagocytized macrophages were also frequently observed in the lungs of particle-multiply-instilled mice. Similar findings, but a slight degree of particle accumulation and granuloma formation, were also observed in lungs of mice with particle single-instillations (data not shown). The degree of granuloma formation in the lungs of multiple C60- or CB-exposed mice appeared more severe than those in multiple kaolin-exposed mice. No abnormalities were observed in the kidneys obtained from mice multiply instilled with particles (data not shown).

Figure 7

Microscopic findings in lungs of gpt delta mice intratracheally instilled with particles. Normal appearance of pulmonary parenchyma in a vehicle-control (Panel A). Pulmonary parenchyma obtained from gpt delta mice intratracheally instilled with four consecutive doses of 0.2 mg/mice of C60 (Panel B), CB (Panel C) and kaolin (Panel D). Test substance-phagocytized macrophages (arrowheads) can be observed, and granulomaous (arrows) formations are also found in lungs of particle-instilled mice. A-D; Original magnification × 40.

Discussion and conclusion

This study demonstrated the genotoxicity of nano/microparticles widely used for industrial, cosmetic and medical fields. In in vitro genotoxic analysis, increased MN frequencies were observed in A549 cells treated with C60, CB and kaolin in a dose-dependent manner. On the other hand, these three particles also induced DNA damage in the lungs of C57BL/6J mice measured by comet assay. Furthermore, we found that C60 and kaolin demonstrated mutagenicity either or both of gpt and Spi- mutations in the gpt delta transgenic mice systems. The gpt gene MFs were significantly increased in the lungs of gpt delta mice with C60 and kaolin, but not CB administrations. A dose-dependent MF increase was observed in the lungs of C60, but not kaolin treated groups. The reason is still unclear, but suggesting that the single dose of kaolin already represented the maximum response. On the other hand, kaolin demonstrated significantly increased Spi- MFs; however, C60 showed similar values compared with the vehicle control of the lungs. Spi- selection detects deletions in size more than 1 bp and 10 kb [24]; therefore, additional DNA damages involved in deletion mutations might be induced by kaolin. It, it is also suggested that C60 does not prefer to induce such kinds of DNA damages under these conditions. In contrast to the present study, Xu et al. have reported that C60 dramatically increases large deletion mutations in gpt delta transgenic mouse primary embryo fibroblast cells [25]. The observed difference of mutational signatures of C60 between a cell line and lung tissue might be related to differences between in vitro and in vivo assay systems in DNA damage formations, DNA repair or translesion DNA synthesis.

To further elucidate the mechanisms behind the increase in mutant frequency observed in this study, we analyzed mutation spectra using a PCR-direct sequencing method. Most mutations induced by three particles in the present study, occurred at G:C base pairs (52/76, 68%). Among these, 13 G:C base pairs were located in the G or C runs. The most prominent hot spots were at base pairs 143, 189, 320, 406 and 418, and there were no significant differences in the distributions of mutation hot spots in the three particles. This may reflect the distribution of DNA damage sites caused by particles. The most prominent mutation type induced by particles was G:C to C:G transversion. Since these mutations were commonly increased regardless of the constituents of particles (i.e. C60 and CB were graphite and kaolin was aluminum silicate), it is suggested that mechanisms leading to the induction of such kinds of mutations might be same. In general, the G:C to C:G transversion is thought to be a rare event in both spontaneous and chemically-induced mutations. However, various oxidative stresses caused by sunlight, UV radiation, hydrogen peroxide and peroxy radicals frequently induce G:C to C:G transversion in in vitro assay systems [2629]. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and DNA damage, including 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG), were reported to be increased by nanoparticles, including asbestos, treatment [4, 21, 3034]. The mechanism of the generation of ROS by nanoparticles is still unclear; however, these nanoparticles would be able to trigger ROS production by iron-catalysed Fenton reactions, or would be accumulated in the cells by phagocytosis, then enhance the production of ROS from macrophages and leucocytes [35, 36]. In the present study, test substance-phagocytized macrophages and granulomas were frequently observed in the lungs, and the degree of the granulomas formation was partly associated with the mutagenic effect on gpt gene by particles. In the case of C60, generation of ROS along with lipid peroxidation via electron transfer between C60 and other molecules has been reported [21]. The most typical lesion of oxidative damage is 8-oxo-dG which can pair with dA and leads G to T transversions [37, 38] but it is not responsible for G to C transversion since dG is not incorporated opposite 8-oxodG [37, 39]. Moreover, a variety of oxidative lesion products of guanine other than 8-oxodG, including imidazolone (Iz), oxazolone (Oz), spiroiminodihydantoin (Sp) and guanidinohydantoin (Gh), have been reported [3945]. Recently, three such molecules, Oz, Sp and Gh are thought to be the key molecules causing G to C transversion using the translesion synthesis systems [4346]. Moreover, these molecules have also been detected in bacterial cells and rat liver [47, 48]. Therefore, it is suggested that G:C to C:G transversions induced by particles such as C60, CB and kaolin could involve Oz, Sp and Gh formations.

In the present study, G:C to A:T transition and A:T to T:A transversion were also increased in the particle treatment. G to A transition has commonly been observed in spontaneous and chemically-induced mutants and deamination of 5-methylcytosine or alkylation of guanine might be involved in these mutations. In contrast to G to A transition, A:T to T:A transversion is known as a rare mutation. It has been reported that the most common mutations induced by N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea in the mouse are A:T to T:A transversions [49]. However, at present, the mechanisms underlying generation of A to T transversion by particles are still unclear.

As mentioned above, we found that all three particles, C60, CB and kaolin increased significant DNA damage in the lungs compared to the vehicle control using the comet assay. Comet assay under alkaline conditions is used to detect both strand breaks and DNA altering lesions such as an AP site [50]. Moreover, in the present study, treatments with C60, CB and kaolin significantly increased the frequency of micronucleated A549 cells in a dose-dependent manner. However, these genotoxic/clastogenic potencies did not necessarily correspond to the mutagenicity observed in gpt transgenic mice.

In conclusion, we demonstrated that manufactured nano/microparticles such as C60, CB and kaolin were shown to be genotoxic in both in vitro and in vivo assay systems. Moreover, it was not necessarily the case that genotoxic potency was related to particle size (C60 and CB are nano-sized, but kaolin is micro-sized particles used in the present study.). From the prominent mutation spectra, it is suggested that oxidative DNA damage might be commonly involved in their mutagenicity. The dose of particles used in the present study seems to be extremely high compared with human exposure in the work place. However, it is likely that these materials would be deposited for a long time in tissues, same as those of asbestos fiber. Therefore, further studies of the mechanisms of genotoxicity and application routes other than trachea are needed. Moreover, exposure levels of these genotoxic particles in the working environment should be determined.

Materials and methods

Materials and chemicals

CB nanoparticles with a primary particle size of 14 nm (Printex 90) were obtained from Degussa, Dusseldorf, Germany. The surface area was 300 m2/g (disclosed by Degussa). The CB was autoclaved at 250°C for 2 h before use. High purity (99.9%) C60 was purchased from Sigma-Aldrich. (St. Louis, MO, USA). The declared primary particle size of C60 was 0.7 nm. Kaolin, white crystal, with a primary particle size of 4.8 μm was obtained from Engelhard Corp., Iselin, NJ. C60, CB and kaolin particles were suspended in saline (Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Tokyo, Japan) containing 0.05% of Tween 80 (Nacalai Tesque, Kyoto, Japan) by sonication for 15 - 20 min, at a concentration of 2 mg/mL. The size distributions of the presently used nano/microparticles in the suspensions were measured by dynamic light scattering (DLS) using FPAR-1000 (Otsuka electronics Co., Ltd., Osaka), and the agglomeration state was assessed by transmission electron microscope (TEM) (H-7000, Hitach, Ltd., Tokyo, Japan). The size distributions were determined with the algorithm CONTIN. For the TEM assessment, an aliquot of 5 μL was put on the nickel glid coated by hydrophilized formbar and assessed with an accelerating voltage of 75 kV.

Type I agarose, low melting point agarose, dimethylsulfoxide and Triton X-100 were bought from Sigma-Aldrich. Ethidium bromide was obtained from Merck (Darmstadt, Germany). Other chemicals were purchased from Wako Pure Chemical Industries (Osaka, Japan).

Micronucleus test

Human lung carcinoma A549 cells obtained from the RIKEN Cell Bank (Wako, Japan) were cultured in Eagle's minimum essential medium (Nissui Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Tokyo, Japan) supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum (JRH Biosciences, Lenexa, KS, USA) in a 5% CO2 atmosphere at 37°C. The cells (7 × 105 cells/dish) were seeded in plastic cell culture dishes (φ60 mm) one day before treatment. Particles were suspended in physiological saline containing 0.05% (v/v) Tween-80 with sonication (for 5-10 min at room temperature). One volume of the suspension was mixed with 9 volumes of the culture medium with serum (altogether 3.3 mL/dish), and then cells were treated at indicated concentrations for 6 hr. Since a long exposure (48 hr) increased the frequency of micronucleated cells in the solvent control (data not shown), we chose a 6 hr treatment. After treatment, cells were further cultured for 42 hr. Then, cells were trypsinized and counted, and centrifuged. Growth inhibition was calculated by following the formula:

Cells were resuspended in 0.075 M KCl, and incubated for 5 min. Cells were then fixed 4 times in methanol:glacial acetic acid (3:1), and washed with methanol containing 1% acetic acid. Finally, cells were resuspended in methanol containing 1% acetic acid. The cell solution was dropped onto slides and the nucleus was stained by mounting with 40 μg/mL acridine orange (Nacalai Tesque) solution and immediately observed by fluorescence microscopy using blue excitation. The number of cells with micronuclei was recorded based on observation of 1,000 interphase cells. The data of EMS and mitomycine C (MMC) for positive system controls in CHL cells under the same experimental conditions were as follows; Percentage of micronucleated cells were 9.8 ± 0.68 for EMS (1 mg/mL) and 10.3 ± 1.1 for MMC (100 n/mL), respectively.


Male C57BL/6J mice (9 weeks old) were purchased from Charles River Japan, Inc. (Atsugi, Japan) and gpt delta mice (9 weeks old) were obtained from Japan SLC (Shizuoka, Japan), respectively. The gpt delta mice carry approximately 80 copies of lambda EG10 DNA on each chromosome 17 on a C57BL/6J background [23]. Animals were provided with food (CE-2 pellet diet, CLEA Japan, Inc., Tokyo, Japan) and tap water ad libitum and quarantined for one week. Mice were maintained under controlled conditions: 12-h light/dark cycle, 22 ± 2°C room temperature, and 55 ± 10% relative humidity. The experiments were conducted according to the "Guidelines for Animal Experiments in the National Cancer Center" of the Committee for Ethics of Animal Experimentation of the National Cancer Center.

Treatment of wild type and gpt delta transgenic mice with particles

All particles were well sonicated and suspended in saline containing 0.05% of Tween 80. For comet assay, 5 male C57BL/6J mice were intratracheally instilled with particles using a polyethylene tube under anesthesia with 4% halothane (Takeda Chemical, Osaka, Japan). Single doses of 0.05 or 0.2 mg per animal were employed. The control mice (n = 5) were instilled intratracheally with 0.1 mL of the solvent alone. The mice were sacrificed 3 hr after these particle administrations, and lungs were removed then used for comet assay immediately. In addition, different exposure time (24 hr) was also examined. For histological and mutation analysis, each group of 10 male gpt delta mice was intratracheally instilled with particles at a single dose of 0.2 mg per animal, and multiple doses of 0.2 mg per animal per week for 4 consecutive instillations, as described for comet assay. The intratracheal instillation dose of particles between 0.05 and 1 mg/mouse has been commonly used for the pulmonary inflammation and genotoxicity test [51, 52]. The control mice (n = 10) were instilled intratracheally with the solvent alone. The mice were sacrificed at 22 weeks old being 12 (for single instillation) or 8 (for multiple instillations) weeks after particle administrations, respectively. Tissues, including lungs and kidneys, were removed. Lungs and kidneys obtained from 4 mice were used for histological evaluation and examined under a light microscope for any abnormalities. For histopathological evaluation, organs were fixed in 10% neutral buffered formalin, embedded in paraffin blocks and routinely processed to H&E stained sections. The remaining 6 mice were used for mutation analysis and the tissues were stored at -80°C until the DNA was isolated.

Alkaline comet assay

The alkaline comet assay was performed according to the method of Sasaki et al. [53] or Toyoizumi et al. [54] with some modification. The lungs were taken from treated mice and weighed, and lung tissue was minced and suspended with chilled homogenizing buffer, then homogenized gently using a Dounce-type homogenizer in ice.

Lung cell suspension was mixed with the same volume of 1.4% low melting point agarose in PBS. The mixture was layered on the slide coated with 0.7% agarose layer, and then covered with 0.7% low melting point agarose. After slide preparation, slides were immersed in lysing solution and refrigerated at 4°C for 1 h. Each slide was then placed in alkaline electrophoresis buffer for 10 min to allow for DNA unwinding. Electrophoresis was performed at 25 V, 300 mA for 15 min at 0°C. The slides were neutralized with Tris buffer for 5 min twice, and dehydrated with 70% ethanol to fix. The cells were stained with ethidium bromide solution. Comet images were analyzed using a fluorescence microscope (magnification 200×) equipped with a CCD camera. Fifty cells were examined per mouse. The tail moment of DNA was measured using Comet Analyzer Youworks Bio Imaging Software.

gpt and Spi-mutation assays

High-molecular-weight genomic DNA was extracted from the lungs and kidneys using a RecoverEase DNA Isolation Kit (Stratagene, La Jolla, CA) according to the instruction manual provided by the supplier. Lambda EG10 phages were rescued using Transpack Packaging Extract (Stratagene).

The gpt mutagenesis assay was performed according to previously described methods [55]. Briefly, E. coli YG6020 was infected with the phage and spread on M9 salt plates containing Cm and 6-TG, then incubated for 72 hr at 37°C. This enabled selection of colonies harboring a plasmid carrying the gene for chloramphenicol acetyltransferase, as well as a mutated gpt. Isolate exhibiting the 6-TG-resistant phenotype was cultured overnight at 37°C in LB broth containing 25 mg/mL Cm, then harvested by centrifugation (7,000 rpm, 10 min), and stored at -80°C.

The mutation spectrum of 6-TG cording sequence were performed by PCR and direct sequencing. Briefly, a 739 bp DNA fragment containing gpt was amplified by PCR as described previously [30, 53]. Sequencing analysis was done at Takara Bio Inc. (Mie, Japan).

The Spi- assay was performed as described previously [53]. The lysates of Spi- mutants were obtained by infection of E. coli LE392 with the recovered Spi- mutants. gpt and Spi- MFs were determined in each mouse and the means ± standard deviations were calculated.

Statistical analysis

The data from micronucleus test and gpt and Spi- mutation assay are expressed as mean ± standard deviations. The data obtained from comet assay are expressed as mean ± standard errors. The data were statistically compared with the corresponding solvent control using the Student's t-test for micronucleus and gpt and Spi- mutation assay. To test for significant differences of tail moment in the comet assay between a group treated with materials and an untreated group, Dunnett's test after one-way ANOVA was used to evaluate the differences; p values lower than 0.05 were considered to indicate statistical significance.



carbon black

C60 :





carbon nanotubes


transmission electron microscope


dynamic light scattering


mutant frequencies














reactive oxygen species.


  1. 1.

    Mazzola L: Commercializing nanotechnology. Nat Biotechnol 2003, 21: 1137–1143. 10.1038/nbt1003-1137

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Paull R, Wolfe J, Hebert P, Sinkula M: Investing in nanotechnology. Nat Biotechnol 2003, 21: 1144–1147. 10.1038/nbt1003-1144

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Elmore AR, Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel: Final report on the safety assessment of aluminum silicate, calcium silicate, magnesium aluminum silicate, magnesium silicate, magnesium trisilicate, sodium magnesium silicate, zirconium silicate, attapulgite, bentonite, Fuller's earth, hectorite, kaolin, lithium magnesium silicate, lithium magnesium sodium silicate, montmorillonite, pyrophyllite, and zeolite. Int J Toxicol 2003,22(Suppl 1):37–102.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    IARC: Carbon Black and Some Nitro Compounds. IARC Monogr Eval Carcinog Risks Hum 1996, 65: 149–262.

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Hoet P, Bruske-Hohlfeld I, Salata O: Possible health impact of nanomaterials. In Nanomaterials - Toxicity, health and environmental issues. Edited by: Kumar C. Weinheim: WILEY-VGH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA; 2006:53–80.

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Bosi S, Da Ros T, Spalluto G, Prato M: Fullerene derivatives: an attractive tool for biological applications. Eur J Med Chem 2003, 38: 913–23. 10.1016/j.ejmech.2003.09.005

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    IARC: Diesel and gasoline engine exhausts and some nitroarenes. IARC Monogr Eval Carcinog Risks Hum 1989, 46: 1–458.

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Hesterberg TW, Bunn WB 3rd, Chase GR, Valberg PA, Slavin TJ, Lapin CA, Hart GA: A critical assessment of studies on the carcinogenic potential of diesel exhaust. Crit Rev Toxicol 2006, 36: 727–776. 10.1080/10408440600908821

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Jacobsen NR, Møller P, Cohn CA, Loft S, Vogel U, Wallin H: Diesel exhaust particles are mutagenic in FE1-MutaMouse lung epithelial cells. Mutat Res 2008, 641: 54–57.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Hashimoto AH, Amanuma K, Hiyoshi K, Sugawara Y, Goto S, Yanagisawa R, Takano H, Masumura K, Nohmi T, Aoki Y: Mutations in the lungs of gpt delta transgenic mice following inhalation of diesel exhaust. Environ Mol Mutagen 2007, 48: 682–693. 10.1002/em.20335

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Barrett JC, Lamb PW, Wiseman RW: Multiple mechanisms for the carcinogenic effects of asbestos and other mineral fibers. Environ Health Perspect 1989, 81: 81–89. 10.2307/3430810

    CAS  PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    IARC: Asbestos. IARC Monogr Eval Carcinog Risks Hum 1997, 14: 11–106.

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    IARC: Overall Evaluation of Carcinogenicity: An Updating of IARC Monographs. IARC Monogr Eval Carcinog Risks Hum 1987,1–42(suppl 7):106–117.

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Baan RA: Carcinogenic hazards from inhaled carbon black, titanium dioxide, and talc not containing asbestos or asbestiform fibers: recent evaluations by an IARC Monographs Working Group. Inhal Toxicol 2007,19(Suppl 1):213–228. 10.1080/08958370701497903

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    IARC: Man-made Vitreouis Fibres. IARC Monogr Eval Carcinog Risks Hum 2002, 81: 33–374.

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Bunn WB 3rd, Bender JR, Hesterberg TW, Chase GR, Konzen JL: Recent studies of man-made vitreous fibers. Chronic animal inhalation studies. J Occup Med 1993, 35: 101–113. 10.1097/00043764-199302000-00009

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Lam C-W, James JT, McCluskey R, Holian A, Hunter RL: Toxicity of carbon nanotubes and its implications for occupational and environmental health. In Nanomaterials - Toxicity, health and environmental issues. Edited by: Kumar C. Weinheim: WILEY-VGH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA; 2006:130–152.

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Donaldson K, Aitken R, Tran L, Stone V, Duffin R, Forrest G, Alexander A: Carbon nanotubes: a review of their properties in relation to pulmonary toxicology and workplace safety. Toxicol Sci 2006, 92: 5–22. 10.1093/toxsci/kfj130

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Poland CA, Duffin R, Kinloch I, Maynard A, Wallace WA, Seaton A, Stone V, Brown S, Macnee W, Donaldson K: Carbon nanotubes introduced into the abdominal cavity of mice show asbestos-like pathogenicity in a pilot study. Nat Nanotechnol 2008, 3: 423–428. 10.1038/nnano.2008.111

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Takagi A, Hirose A, Nishimura T, Fukumori N, Ogata A, Ohashi N, Kitajima S, Kanno J: Induction of mesothelioma in p53+/- mouse by intraperitoneal application of multi-wall carbon nanotube. J Toxicol Sci 2008, 33: 105–116. 10.2131/jts.33.105

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Nielsen GD, Roursgaard M, Jensen KA, Poulsen SS, Larsen ST: In vivo biology and toxicology of fullerenes and their derivatives. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol 2008, 103: 197–208. 10.1111/j.1742-7843.2008.00266.x

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Jensen AW, Wilson SR, Schuster DI: Biological applications of fullerenes. Bioorg Med Chem 1996, 4: 767–779. 10.1016/0968-0896(96)00081-8

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Nohmi T, Masumura K: Molecular nature of intrachromosomal deletions and base substitutions induced by environmental mutagens. Environ Mol Mutagen 2005, 45: 150–161. 10.1002/em.20110

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Nohmi T, Suzuki M, Masumura K, Yamada M, Matsui K, Ueda O, Suzuki H, Katoh M, Ikeda H, Sofuni T: Spi(-) selection: An efficient method to detect gamma-ray-induced deletions in transgenic mice. Environ Mol Mutagen 1999, 34: 9–15. 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2280(1999)34:1<9::AID-EM2>3.0.CO;2-E

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Xu A, Chai Y, Hei T: Genotoxic responses to titanium dioxide nanoparticles and fullerene in gpt delta transgenic MEFcells. Particle Fibre Toxicol 2009, 6: 3. 10.1186/1743-8977-6-3

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Negishi K, Hao W: Spectrum of mutations in single-stranded DNA phage M13mp2 exposed to sunlight: predominance of G-to-C transversion. Carcinogenesis 1992, 9: 1615–1618. 10.1093/carcin/13.9.1615

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Akasaka S, Yamamoto K: Hydrogen peroxide induces G:C to T:A and G:C to C:G transversions in the supF gene of Escherichia coli. Mol Gen Genet 1994, 243: 500–505. 10.1007/BF00284197

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Valentine MR, Rodriguez H, Termini J: Mutagenesis by peroxy radical is dominated by transversions at deoxyguanosine: evidence for the lack of involvement of 8-oxo-dG1 and/or abasic site formation. Biochemistry 1998, 37: 7030–7038. 10.1021/bi973132m

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Shin CY, Ponomareva ON, Connolly L, Turker MS: A mouse kidney cell line with a G:C --> C:G transversion mutator phenotype. Mutat Res 2002, 503: 69–76.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Jacobsen NR, Pojana G, White P, Møller P, Cohn CA, Korsholm KS, Vogel U, Marcomini A, Loft S, Wallin H: Genotoxicity, cytotoxicity, and reactive oxygen species induced by single-walled carbon nanotubes andC(60) fullerenes in the FE1-Muta™ Mouse lung epithelial cells. Environ Mol Mutagen 2008, 49: 476–487. 10.1002/em.20406

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Valberg PA, Long CM, Sax SN: Integrating studies on carcinogenic risk of carbon black: epidemiology, animal exposures, and mechanism of action. J Occup Environ Med 2006, 48: 1291–1307. 10.1097/01.jom.0000215342.52699.2a

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Sayes CM, Marchione AA, Reed KL, Warheit DB: Comparative pulmonary toxicity assessments of C60 water suspensions in rats: few differences in fullerene toxicity in vivo in contrast to in vitro profiles. Nano Lett 2007, 7: 2399–2406. 10.1021/nl0710710

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Gao N, Keane MJ, Ong T, Wallace WE: Effects of simulated pulmonary surfactant on the cytotoxicity and DNA-damaging activity of respirable quartz and kaolin. J Toxicol Environ Health A 2000, 60: 153–167. 10.1080/009841000156466

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Kasai H, Nishimura S: DNA damage induced by asbestos in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. Gann 1984, 75: 841–844.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Aust A: The role of iron in asbestos induced cancer. In Cellular and Molecular Effects of Mineral and Syntheticn Dusts and Fibers, NATO ASI Series. Volume H85. Edited by: Davis JMG, Jaurand M-C. Berlin: Springer-Verlag; 1994:53–61.

    Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Mossman BT, Gee BL: Pulmonary reactions and mechanisms of toxicity of inhaled fibers. In Toxicology of the Lung. 2nd edition. Edited by: Gardner, et al. New York: Raven Press; 1993:371–387.

    Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Shibutani S, Takeshita M, Grollman AP: Insertion of specific bases during DNA synthesis past the oxidation-damaged base 8-oxodG. Nature 1991, 349: 431–434. 10.1038/349431a0

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Moriya M: Single-stranded shuttle phagemid for mutagenesis studies in mammalian cells: 8-oxoguanine in DNA induces targeted G.C-->T.A transversions in simian kidney cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1993, 90: 1122–1126. 10.1073/pnas.90.3.1122

    CAS  PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Kornyushyna O, Berges AM, Muller JG, Burrows CJ: In vitro nucleotide misinsertion opposite the oxidized guanosine lesions spiroiminodihydantoin and guanidinohydantoin and DNA synthesis past the lesions using Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I (Klenow fragment). Biochemistry 2002, 41: 15304–15314. 10.1021/bi0264925

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Cadet J, Berger M, Buchko GW, Joshi PC, Raoul S, Ravanat JL: 2,2-Diamino-4-[(3,5-di-O-acetyl-2-deoxy-.beta.-D-erythro- pentofuranosyl)amino]-5-(2H)-oxazolone: a Novel and Predominant Radical Oxidation Product of 3',5'-Di-O-acetyl-2'-deoxyguanosine. J Am Chem Soc 1994, 116: 7403–7404. 10.1021/ja00095a052

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Goyal RN, Jain N, Garg DK: Electrochemical and enzymic oxidation of guanosine and 8-hydroxyguanosine and the effects of oxidation products in mice. Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics 1997, 43: 105–114. 10.1016/S0302-4598(96)05182-3

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Ye Y, Muller JG, Luo W, Mayne CL, Shallop AJ, Jones RA, Burrows CJ: Formation of 13C-, 15N-, and 18O-labeled guanidinohydantoin from guanosine oxidation with singlet oxygen. Implications for structure and mechanism. J Am Chem Soc 2003, 125: 13926–13927. 10.1021/ja0378660

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Burrows CJ, Muller JG, Kornyushyna O, Luo W, Duarte V, Leipold MD, David SS: Structure and potential mutagenicity of new hydantoin products from guanosine and 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine oxidation by transition metals. Environ Health Perspect 2002,110(Suppl 5):713–717.

    CAS  PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Kino K, Sugiyama H: UVR-induced G-C to C-G transversions from oxidative DNA damage. Mutat Res 2005, 571: 33–42.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. 45.

    Kino K, Sugiyama H: Possible cause of G-C-->C-G transversion mutation by guanine oxidation product, imidazolone. Chem Biol 2001, 8: 369–378. 10.1016/S1074-5521(01)00019-9

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    Kino K, Ito N, Sugasawa K, Sugiyama H, Hanaoka F: Translesion synthesis by human DNA polymerase eta across oxidative products of guanine. Nucleic Acids Symp Ser 2004, 48: 171–172. 10.1093/nass/48.1.171

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. 47.

    Hailer MK, Slade PG, Martin BD, Sugden KD: Nei deficient Escherichia coli are sensitive to chromate and accumulate the oxidized guanine lesion spiroiminodihydantoin. Chem Res Toxicol 2005, 18: 1378–1383. 10.1021/tx0501379

    CAS  PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  48. 48.

    Matter B, Malejka-Giganti D, Csallany AS, Tretyakova N: Quantitative analysis of the oxidative DNA lesion, 2,2-diamino-4-(2-deoxy-beta-D-erythro-pentofuranosyl)amino]-5(2H)-oxazolone (oxazolone), in vitro and in vivo by isotope dilution-capillary HPLC-ESI-MS/MS. Nucleic Acids Res 2006, 34: 5449–5460. 10.1093/nar/gkl596

    CAS  PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  49. 49.

    Justice MJ, Noveroske JK, Weber JS, Zheng B, Bradley A: Mouse ENU mutagenesis. Hum Mol Genet 1999, 8: 1955–1963. 10.1093/hmg/8.10.1955

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  50. 50.

    Rojas E, Lopez MC, Valverde M: Single cell gel electrophoresis: methodology and applications. Journal of Chromatography B 1999, 722: 225–254. 10.1016/S0378-4347(98)00313-2

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  51. 51.

    Park EJ, Yoon J, Choi K, Yi J, Park K: Induction of chronic inflammation in mice treated with titanium dioxide nanoparticles by intratracheal instillation. Toxicology 2009, 260: 37–46. 10.1016/j.tox.2009.03.005

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. 52.

    Kaewamatawong T, Shimada A, Okajima M, Inoue H, Morita T, Inoue K, Takano H: Acute and subacute pulmonary toxicity of low dose of ultrafine colloidal silica particles in mice after intratracheal instillation. Toxicol Pathol 2006, 34: 958–65. 10.1080/01926230601094552

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  53. 53.

    Sasaki YF, Tsuda S, Izumiyama F, Nishidate E: Detection of chemically induced DNA lesions in multiple mouse organs (liver, lung, spleen, kidney, and bone marrow) using the alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (Comet) assay. Mutat Res 1997, 388: 33–44.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  54. 54.

    Toyoizumi T, Deguchi Y, Masuda S, Kinae N: Genotoxicity and estrogenic activity of 3,3'-dinitrobisphenol A in goldfish. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2008, 72: 2118–2123. 10.1271/bbb.80193

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  55. 55.

    Nohmi T, Suzuki T, Masumura K: Recent advances in the protocols of transgenic mouse mutation assays. Mutat Res 2000, 455: 191–215.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank Mr. Naoaki Uchiya, Ms Hiroko Suzuki, Yoko Matsumoto, Naoki Itcho and Mitsuyo Fujii for excellent technical assistance. This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Cancer Research and for Research on Risk of Chemical Substances from the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare of Japan. Takashi Higuchi one of authors, is an awardee of a Research Fellowship from the Japan Food Hygiene Association for Promoted Project of Research on Risk of Chemical Substances from the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare of Japan.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yukari Totsuka.

Additional information

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

YT carried out the preparation and performance of gpt delta transgenic mouse experiments and drafted the manuscript. SO and MK performed in vitro MN tests. TK and SM performed the comet assay. TI, KH and TH performed the animal exposure and gpt and Spi- mutation analysis. Pulmonary and renal histopathological evaluations were done by TI and AN. Analysis of size distribution and agglomeration state of particles were done by MW and NF. TN, NK, TY, TS and KW conceived and supervised the study. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Authors’ original submitted files for images

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Totsuka, Y., Higuchi, T., Imai, T. et al. Genotoxicity of nano/microparticles in in vitro micronuclei, in vivo comet and mutation assay systems. Part Fibre Toxicol 6, 23 (2009).

Download citation


  • Carbon Black
  • Kaolin
  • Comet Assay
  • Primary Particle Size
  • Intratracheal Instillation