Low doses of ochratoxin A induce micronucleus formation and delay DNA repair in human lymphocytes
González Arias, Cyndia A.
Benitez-Trinidad, alma B.
Medina-Díaz, Irma M.
Barrón-Vivanco, Briscia S.
Rojas-García, A. E.
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The contamination of food commodities by fungal toxins has attracted great interest because many of these mycotoxins are responsible for different diseases, including cancer and other chronic illnesses. Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin naturally present in food, and long-term exposure to food contaminated
with low levels of OTA has been associated with renal cancer. In the present study, the cytotoxicity, cytostaticity, and genotoxicity of OTA (0.075-15 μM) in human lymphocytes were evaluated. A comet assay, a modified comet assay (DNA repair assay), which uses N-hydroxyurea (NHU) to detect nonrepaired lesions produced by OTA, and a cytokinesis-blocked micronucleus assay were used. Treatments with OTA were not cytotoxic, but OTA caused a cytostatic effect in human lymphocytes at a concentration of 15 μM. OTA (0.075-5 μM) produced a slight increase in the percentage of DNA in the comets and a delay in the DNA repair capacity of the lymphocytes. Micronucleus (MN) induction was observed at OTA concentrations of 1.5 and 5 μM. Our results indicate that OTA induces DNA stable damage at low doses that are neither cytotoxic nor cytostatic, and OTA delays the DNA repair kinetics. These findings indicate that OTA affects two pivotal events in the carcinogenesis pathway.