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Anales del Sistema Sanitario de Navarra

versión impresa ISSN 1137-6627


ZALACAIN, M.; SIERRASESUMAGA, L.  y  PATINO, A.. The cytogenetic assay as a measure of genetic instability induced by genotoxic agents. Anales Sis San Navarra [online]. 2005, vol.28, n.2, pp.227-236. ISSN 1137-6627.

Human genetic integrity is compromised by the intense industrial activity, which emphasizes the importance to determine an "acceptable" genetic damage level and to carry out routine genotoxicity assays in the populations at risk.  Micronuclei are cytoplasmatic bodies of nuclear origin which correspond to genetic material that is not correctly incorporated in the daughter cells in the cellular division; they reflect the existence of chromosomal aberrations and are originated by chromosomal breaks, replication errors followed by cellular division of the DNA and/or exposure to genotoxic agents. There are several factors able to modify the number of micronuclei present in a given cell, among them are age, gender, vitamins, medical treatments, daily exposure to genotoxic agents, etc.  The cytogenetic assay for the detection of micronuclei (CBMN: cytokinesis-block micronucleus) is based on the use of a chemical agent, cytochalasin-B, which is able to block cytocinesis but allowing the nuclear division, therefore yielding binucleated and monodivided cells. The micronuclei scoring is performed on 1000 binucleated cells and the starting sample may vary, although most studies are performed on peripheral blood lymphocytes.  The micronuclei assay is considered a practical, universally validated and technically feasible protocol which is useful to evaluate the genetic instability induced by genotoxic agents.

Palabras clave : Micronuclei; Chromosomal aberrations; Genotoxic agenets; Genetic instability.

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