Comet assay using mullet (Mugil sp.) and sea catfish (Netuma sp.) erythrocytes for the detection of genotoxic pollutants in aquatic environment.Mutat Res. 2004 May 09; 560(1):57-67.MR
The development of comet assay for aquatic organisms is of particular relevance in light of the importance of coastal fisheries to several countries around the world. Two of the most common fish species native to southern Brazil are the gray mullet (Mugil sp.) and sea catfish (Netuma sp.) for which we have produced a standardized comet assay using whole erythrocytes taken from samples of these fish. We investigated the potential of the comet assay for monitoring genotoxicity in mullet and sea catfish and made a preliminary investigation of the baseline levels of DNA damage in the erythrocytes of samples of these fish from non-polluted areas as well as assessing the in vitro sensitivity of erythrocyte exposed to 2, 4 and 8 x 10(-5) M of methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) for 1, 2, 6 and 24h at 25 and 37 degrees C. Our results show that there was an increase in baseline DNA damage at higher temperatures and that the amount of MMS-induced DNA damage also increased at higher temperatures and that there was a clear dose/time response to treatment with MMS. To assess the possibility of using fish for environmental biomonitoring we also used the comet assay to investigate the in vitro genotoxic effect of MMS on whole blood cells from human donors and found a clear concentration-related effect at all exposure times, findings which agree with those of other workers. This study demonstrates the potential application of the comet assay to erythrocytes of mullets and sea catfish. However, these findings also suggest that temperature could alter both baseline DNA damage in untreated animals and in vitro cell sensitivity towards genotoxic pollutants.