NYMC Faculty Publications

Evaluation of Pharmaceuticals for DNA Damage in the Chicken Egg Genotoxicity Assay (CEGA)

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International Journal of Toxicology

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Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology

Second Department

Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology


DNA damage is an established initiating event in the mutagenicity and carcinogenicity of genotoxic chemicals. Accordingly, assessment of this endpoint is critical for chemicals which are being developed for use in humans. To assess the ability of the Chicken Egg Genotoxicity Assay (CEGA) to detect genotoxic pharmaceuticals, a set of 23 compounds with different pharmacological and reported genotoxic effects was tested for the potential to produce nuclear DNA adducts and strand breaks in the embryo-fetal livers using the 32P-nucleotide postlabeling (NPL) and comet assays, respectively. Due to high toxicity, two aneugens, colchicine and vinblastine, and an autophagy inhibitor, hydroxychloroquine, could not be evaluated. Out of the 20 remaining pharmaceuticals, 10 including estrogen modulators, diethylstilbestrol and tamoxifen, antineoplastics cyclophosphamide, etoposide, and mitomycin C, antifungal griseofulvin, local anesthetics lidocaine and prilocaine, and antihistamines diphenhydramine and doxylamine, yielded clear positive outcomes in at least one of the assays. The antihypertensive vasodilator hydralazine and antineoplastics streptozotocin and teniposide, produced only DNA strand breaks, which were not dose-dependent, and thus, the results with these 3 pharmaceuticals were considered equivocal. No DNA damage was detected for 7 compounds, including the purine antagonist 6-thioguanine, antipyretic analgesics acetaminophen and phenacetin, antibiotic ciprofloxacin, antilipidemic clofibrate, anti-inflammatory ibuprofen, and sedative phenobarbital. However, low solubility of these compounds limited dosages tested in CEGA. Overall, results in CEGA were largely in concordance with the outcomes in other systems in vitro and in vivo, indicating that CEGA provides reliable detection of DNA damaging activity of genotoxic compounds. Further evaluations with a broader set of compounds would support this conclusion.