Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 75, Issue 11, pp 734–741

Detection of ochratoxin A-induced DNA damage in MDCK cells by alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay)

  • Stefan Lebrun
  • Wolfram Föllmann

DOI: 10.1007/s00204-001-0291-9

Cite this article as:
Lebrun, S. & Föllmann, W. Arch Toxicol (2002) 75: 734. doi:10.1007/s00204-001-0291-9


The mycotoxin ochratoxin A (OTA), a widespread contaminant of food and feedstuffs, is nephrotoxic, immunosuppressive and carcinogenic in domestic and laboratory animals. Additionally, it is suspected as being responsible for urinary tract tumours in patients suffering from Balkan endemic nephropathy. Moreover, evidence has accumulated that OTA is a genotoxic carcinogen, although the mechanism that results in DNA damage has not been fully resolved. In this study, the induction of DNA damage by OTA and the subsequent DNA repair was investigated by alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay) in cells originally derived from the kidney, a target organ of OTA. With modifications of the method, the influence of OTA uptake into the cells and of DNA repair on the genotoxic effect of OTA should be investigated. In Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, OTA induced single-strand breaks in a concentration dependent manner. When an external metabolising enzyme system (S9-mix from rat liver) was added, this genotoxic effect was significantly stronger. By co-incubation with methotrexate or with the mycotoxin citrinin, a substrate of the organic anion transporter, the adverse effect of OTA was inhibited. When DNA repair was inhibited by addition of cytosine arabinoside and hydroxyurea, the tail length increased dramatically and all treated cells showed single-strand breaks. A further culture of the damaged cells in the absence of any supplement resulted in a complete repair of the DNA damage within 2 h. Adverse effects on the mechanisms of DNA repair, or exposure to OTA in periods of reduced DNA repair capacity may influence the genotoxic potency of OTA and have to be regarded as a further mechanism by which genotoxic effects of OTA can be performed.

Mycotoxin Ochratoxin A DNA damage DNA repair MDCK cells Alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Lebrun
    • 1
  • Wolfram Föllmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Arbeitsphysiologie an der Universität Dortmund, Ardeystrasse 67, 44139 DortmundGermany

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