OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals, Section 4

Health Effects

2074-5788 (online)
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The OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals is a collection of about 150 of the most relevant internationally agreed testing methods used by government, industry and independent laboratories to identify and characterise potential hazards of chemicals. They are a set of tools for professionals, used primarily in regulatory safety testing and subsequent chemical and chemical product notification, chemical registration and in chemical evaluation. They can also be used for the selection and ranking of candidate chemicals during the development of new chemicals and products and in toxicology research. This group of tests covers health effects.

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Test No. 476: In vitro Mammalian Cell Gene Mutation Test

Test No. 476: In vitro Mammalian Cell Gene Mutation Test You or your institution have access to this content


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The in vitro mammalian cell gene mutation test can be used to detect gene mutations induced by chemical substances. In the cell lines the most commonly-used genetic endpoints measure mutation at thymidine kinase (TK) and hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyl transferase (HPRT), and a transgene of xanthineguanine phosphoribosyl transferase (XPRT). The TK, HPRT and XPRT mutation tests detect different spectra of genetic events.

Cells in suspension or monolayer culture are exposed to, at least four analysable concentrations of the test substance, both with and without metabolic activation, for a suitable period of time. They are subcultured to determine cytotoxicity and to allow phenotypic expression prior to mutant selection. It is recommended to utilise at least 106cells. Cytotoxicity is usually determined by measuring the relative cloning efficiency (survival) or relative total growth of the cultures after the treatment period. The treated cultures are maintained in growth medium for a sufficient period of time, characteristic of each selected locus and cell type, to allow near-optimal phenotypic expression of induced mutations. Mutant frequency is determined by seeding known numbers of cells in medium containing the selective agent to detect mutant cells, and in medium without selective agent to determine the cloning efficiency (viability). After a suitable incubation time, colonies are counted.

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