Ethylene Oxide and Some Factors Affecting the Mutagen Sensitivity of Sister Chromatid Exchange in Humans

  • V. F. Garry
  • J. K. Wiencke
  • R. L. Nelson


In our laboratory, we consider mutagenesis and the factors surrounding a mutagenic event as a series of barrier systems (Fig. 1), any one of which can affect a final biological outcome in humans. For example, a mutagen can only exert an effect if it indeed has access to a portal of entry. Physical parameters such as solubility affect skin absorption (1). Particle size will determine whether a particulate is respirable (2). Taken together, the physical/chemical barriers at the portal of entry limit carcinogen access to an organism. Beyond this point, the extracellular fluid (e.g., blood plasma) may limit or augment a mutagenic effect. In our studies shown here and elsewhere in this volume, we (Wiencke, et al.) demonstrate that sister chromatid exchange (SCE) mutagen effects can be modulated by blood plasma (3). Indeed, Lambert et al. (4) have indicated this possibility earlier. The complex environment of peripheral blood presents a myriad of cell types (erythrocytes, other mononuclear cells, neutrophils, and platelets) which may alter the mutagen response in phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated lymphocytes. An elegant series of studies (5) shows quite clearly that erythrocytes activate at least 1 carcinogen, styrene, which otherwise is inactive in purified lymphocyte cultures, i.e., the target cell.


Ethylene Oxide Ethylene Oxide Sister Chromatid Exchange Mutagen Sensitivity Mutagen Response 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. F. Garry
    • 1
  • J. K. Wiencke
    • 1
  • R. L. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Environmental PathologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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