The dosing determines mutagenicity of hydrophobic compounds in the Ames II assay with metabolic transformation: Passive dosing versus solvent spiking

Kilian E.C. Smith, Minne B. Heringa, Marijan Uytewaal, Philipp Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The Ames II bacterial mutagenicity assay is a new version of the standard Ames test for screening chemicals for genotoxic activity. However, the use of plastic micro-titer plates has drawbacks in the case of testing hydrophobic mutagens, since sorptive and other losses make it difficult to control and define the exposure concentrations, and they reduce availability for bacterial uptake or to the S9 enzymes. With passive dosing, a biocompatible polymer such as silicone is loaded with the test compound and acts as a partitioning source. It compensates for any losses and results in stable freely dissolved concentrations. Passive dosing using silicone O-rings was applied in the Ames 11 assay to measure PAH mutagenicity in strains TA98 and TAMix - a mixture of six different bacterial strains detecting six different base-pair substitutions - after metabolic activation by S9. Initially, 10 PAHs were tested with passive dosing from saturated O-rings, aiming at levels in the test medium close to aqueous solubility. Fluoranthene, pyrene and benzo(a)pyrene were mutagenic in both TA98 and TAMix, whereas benz(a)anthracene was mutagenic in TA98 only. The concentration-dependent mutagenic activity of benzo(a)pyrene was then compared for passive dosing and solvent spiking. With spiking, nominal concentrations greatly exceeded aqueous solubility before mutagenicity was observed, due to sorptive losses and limiting dissolution kinetics. In contrast, the passive dosing concentration-response curves were more reproducible, and shifted towards lower concentrations by several orders of magnitude. This study raises fundamental questions about how to introduce hydrophobic test substances in the Ames 11 assay with biotransformation, since the measured mutagenicity not only depends on the compound potency but also on its supply, sorption and consumption during the assay. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Volume750
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)12-18
ISSN1383-5718
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ames II assay
  • Mutagenicity
  • Hydrophobic compounds
  • Passive dosing
  • Solvent spiking

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