OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals, Section 4
- 2074-5788 (online)
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.
Test No. 489: In Vivo Mammalian Alkaline Comet Assay
- 26 Sep 2014
The in vivo alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis assay, also called alkaline Comet Assay is a method measuring DNA strand breaks in eukaryotic cells.
Each treated group is composed of a minimum of 5 animals of one sex (or of each sex as appropriate). A positive and a vehicle control group are also used. Administration of the treatment consists of daily doses over duration of 2 days or more, ensuring the test chemical reaches the target tissue which can be the liver, the kidney or other tissues if justified.
Tissues of interest are dissected and single cells/nuclei suspensions are prepared and embedded in agarose on slides. Cells/nuclei are treated with lysis buffer to remove cellular and/or nuclear membranes. The nuclear DNA in the agar is then subjected to electrophoresis at high pH. This results in structures resembling comets which by using suitable fluorescent stain, can be observed by fluorescent microscopy. Based on their size DNA fragments migrate away from the head to the tail, and the intensity of the comet tail relative to the total intensity (head plus tail) reflects the amount of DNA breakage.