Genotoxic effects of two nickel-compounds in somatic cells of Drosophila melanogaster

Erico R. Carmona, Amadeu Creus, R. Marcos

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31 Citations (Scopus)


In view of the scarcely available information on the in vivo mutagenic and co-mutagenic activity of nickel, the genotoxic potential of two nickel-compounds, nickel chloride (NiCl2) and nickel sulphate (NiSO4), was assessed in Drosophila melanogaster by measuring two different genetic endpoints. On the one hand, we used the wing-spot assay, which is based on the principle that the loss of heterozygosity of two suitable recessive markers, multiple wing hairs (mwh) and flare-3 (flr3), can lead to the formation of mutant clones in the imaginal disks of larval cells. On the other hand, the in vivo comet assay, which detects single- and double-strand DNA breaks, was also used with larval haemocytes. These cells offer several advantages: they are highly sensitive to genotoxic agents, the sampling and processing methodologies are quite simple and the level of basal DNA damage is relatively low. No significant increases in the frequencies of the three categories of mutant spots (i.e. small single spots, large single spots, and twin spots) were observed in the wing-spot assay; however, NiSO4 induced significant dose-dependent increases in DNA damage in the comet assay. In addition, the combined treatments with gamma-radiation and NiCl2 and NiSO4 showed a slight but significant increase in the frequency of the three categories of mutant spots compared with the frequency induced by gamma-radiation alone, indicating that both nickel compounds have a synergistic interaction. These results support the assumption that both nickel compounds could act as co-mutagens interfering with DNA-repair processes and that the in vivo comet assay is a sensitive and effective method for detecting the DNA damage induced by NiSO4 in haemocytes of D. melanogaster. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-37
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2011


  • Comet assay
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Haemocytes
  • Nickel
  • Wing-spot test


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