Evaluation of micronucleus induction in a Chilean population environmentally exposed to arsenic

V. Martínez, A. Creus, W. Venegas, A. Arroyo, J. P. Beck, T. W. Gebel, J. Surrallés, R. Marcos

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40 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study we have evaluated whether or not environmental exposure to arsenic in ground drinking-water results in a significant increase in the frequency of micronuclei (MN) in peripheral blood lymphocytes. Thus, 106 individuals from the Antofagasta region (North Chile), together with 111 individuals from the area of Concepción, were used in this investigation. In the Antofagasta area, arsenic levels in drinking-water as high as 0.750 mg/L were measured. In Concepción, located about 2500 km towards the south and used as reference area, arsenic levels in tap water were as low as 0.002 mg/L. The total content of arsenic in fingernails was determined as a biomarker of individual exposure. The cytogenetic results obtained in this study indicate that in the exposed group the overall frequency of binucleated micronucleated cells (BNMN) is higher than in the reference group, the difference being statistically significant. In addition, no differences were found between the exposed and the reference groups, regarding the cytokinesis-block proliferation index (CBPI). No association was observed between BNMN and arsenic content in water or arsenic in fingernails. On the other hand, when the exposed group was divided according to their Atacameo or Caucasian ethnicity, no significant differences were observed between them. In addition, as usually found in other human biomonitoring studies, sex and age are factors that modulate the frequency of MN in both exposed and reference populations. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-74
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2004


  • Arsenic
  • Biomonitoring
  • Drinking-water
  • Fingernails
  • Human lymphocytes
  • Micronucleus test


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