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

Fluorocarbon-enhanced mutagenesis of polyaromatic hydrocarbons.

The widely used fluorocarbon refrigerant and cleaning solvent 1,1,2-trichloro-1,2,2-trifluoroethane (Freon TF), though generally considered biologically inert, enhances the metabolic activation of chemical carcinogens. Liver microsomal extracts from mice given single intraperitoneal injections of this fluorocarbon showed significant increases in their ability to activate carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons to form mutagens, compared to control mice injected with saline. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons aminofluorene and acetylaminofluorene were activated in this way. Mutagenicity was measured by a microbial assay. Both commercial grade and redistilled fluorocarbons gave similar results, that is, more highly active liver extracts after administration of the fluorocarbon preparation to mice. Neither industrial grade nor redistilled preparation was itself mutagenic. A combined liver microsomal extract from mice breathing Freon TF at 20,000 ppm in air for 8 hr also had enhanced ability to activate aminofluorene as a mutagen. Exposing mice to Freon TF by inhalation more closely matches the normal route of human exposure to fluorocarbons. The results of this study imply that low-molecular-weight fluorocarbons may pose a carcinogenic risk by acting as cocarcinogenic enhancers of carcinogen activation. The possibility that fluorocarbons are cocarcinogens in this way has apparently not been heretofore considered.[1]


  1. Fluorocarbon-enhanced mutagenesis of polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Mahurin, R.G., Bernstein, R.L. Environmental research. (1988) [Pubmed]
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