Improved single-cell gel electrophoresis assay for detecting DNA damage in Eisenia foetida.Environ Mol Mutagen. 2005 Dec; 46(4):246-52.EM
The earthworm (Eisenia foetida) is an attractive sentinel species for detecting genotoxicity in soil. In this study, an improved single-cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) assay was developed for detecting DNA damage in the coelomocytes (lymphocytes) of earthworms. Coelomocytes were obtained from the coelomic fluid using a modified extrusion medium that did not include the mucolytic agent guaiacol. The extruded coelomocytes contained at least three types of cells: eleocytes (75% of the total), amoebocytes, and granulocytes. The DNA migration parameters were determined for untreated cells of each type in order that the assay could be performed with minimum inter- and intra-individual variation. In addition, lysis time was reduced to 10 min, and only one neutralization step was used. DNA damage was detected in isolated eleocytes treated with hydrogen peroxide and cadmium, and in eleocytes from earthworms exposed for up to 21 days to soil containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The SCGE assay using earthworm eleocytes appears to be a sensitive biomarker for evaluating exposure to genotoxic compounds.