Document Detail

Quantification of epithelial cell micronuclei by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in mortuary science students exposed to formaldehyde.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  9008725     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
A micronucleus assay employing fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with a centromeric probe was used on specimens of exfoliated buccal and nasal cells collected from mortuary science students exposed to embalming fluid containing formaldehyde. FISH labeling allowed micronuclei (MN) containing a whole chromosome (centromere-positive, MN+) to be differentiated from those containing only chromosomal fragments (centromere-negative, MN-). Each student was sampled before and after the 90 day embalming class. We determined if an increase in MN frequency could be attributed to formaldehyde exposure and was specific to either MN+ or MN-. In buccal cells, total MN frequency was significantly increased from 0.6/1000 to 2/1000 (p = 0.007) following the course, whereas in nasal cells it was not (2 and 2.5/1000, respectively, p = 0.2). Cells with multiple MN were present only in samples taken after exposure to embalming fluid. Although the baseline frequency was higher for MN+ in both buccal (0.4/1000 for MN+ and 0.1/1000 for MN-) and nasal cells (1.2/1000 for MN+ and 0.5/1000 for MN-), the increase in MN frequency was greater for MN-, (9-fold, p = 0.005 for buccal cells; 2-fold, p = 0.03 for nasal cells) than for MN+ (> 2-fold, p = 0.08 for buccal cells; no change, p = 0.31 for nasal cells) in both tissues. Thus, the primary mechanism of micronucleus formation appeared to be chromosome breakage. This finding is consistent with known clastogenic properties of formaldehyde, the component of embalming fluid most likely responsible for micronucleus induction.
N Titenko-Holland; A J Levine; M T Smith; P J Quintana; M Boeniger; R Hayes; A Suruda; P Schulte
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Mutation research     Volume:  371     ISSN:  0027-5107     ISO Abbreviation:  Mutat. Res.     Publication Date:  1996 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1997-02-19     Completed Date:  1997-02-19     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0400763     Medline TA:  Mutat Res     Country:  NETHERLANDS    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  237-48     Citation Subset:  IM    
Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley 94720, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Formaldehyde / toxicity*
In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
Micronucleus Tests
Mortuary Practice / education*
Mouth Mucosa / drug effects
Nasal Mucosa / drug effects
Occupational Exposure*
Quality Control
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:

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