Clastogenic effects of methylnitrosourea and ethylnitrosourea on chromosomes from human fibroblasts cell lines

Warren G. Sanger, James D. Eisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Human fibroblast cell lines were pulse-treated for 1 h with either methylnitrosourea (MNU) or ethylnitrosourea (ENU) at various time intervals before harvesting for chromosome analysis. Cells treated with 1 × 10-3 M, 5 × 10-4 M, and 1 × 10-4 M final concentrations of MNU and ENU during the G2 or M phases of the cell cycle showed a significant increase in chromatid-type abnormalities over controls. Cells exposed to MNU or ENU 23 h before harvest showed some chromosome-type abnormalities, reflecting probable damage induced during the G1 phase of the cell cycle or derived from chromatid damage induced during the previous cell cycle. The mitotic indices and incidences of abnormalities suggested a dose response effect when cells were treated with the two higher concentrations and the three concentrations, respectively, of MNU or ENU. Chromatid abnormalities were observed in MNU and ENU-treated cells from each of four cell lines. From this investigation, it was concluded that MNU and ENU treatment of human diploid cell lines in vitro induced both chromatid and chromosome aberrations. MNU and ENU, both of which had previously been shown to be mutagenic in experimental animals, are, therefore, also considered to be mutagenic at the chromosome level in human fibroblasts grown and treated in cell culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-426
Number of pages12
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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