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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Phthalates demonstrate genotoxicity on human mucosa of the upper aerodigestive tract.

Various phthalate compounds are used as softeners and plasticizers in a wide range of plastic materials. There has been a growing concern regarding a possible health hazard to humans. The mucosa of the upper aerodigestive tract is the organ of first contact for the majority of xenobiotics, such as phthalates, entering the body. Still, there is a lack of information concerning possible carcinogenicity of phthalates in the upper aerodigestive tract. This motivated us to investigate their genotoxic effects on human epithelia: human mucosal cells derived from biopsies harvested during surgery of the oropharynx and the inferior nasal turbinate, respectively. The alkaline version of the microgel electrophoresis assay was used to detect single-strand breaks in the DNA following incubation with dibutylphthalate (DBP) and diisobutylphthalate (DiBP). DNA damage was induced by both DBP and DiBP in oropharyngeal and nasal mucosa, though the effect of DiBP was more pronounced than that of DBP. Nasal mucosa proved to be more sensitive than oropharyngeal epithelia. The results demonstrate genotoxic effects of phthalates on human mucosal cells of the upper aerodigestive tract, in contrast to earlier findings in animal models.[1]


  1. Phthalates demonstrate genotoxicity on human mucosa of the upper aerodigestive tract. Kleinsasser, N.H., Kastenbauer, E.R., Weissacher, H., Muenzenrieder, R.K., Harréus, U.A. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. (2000) [Pubmed]
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