A new method to reveal the genotoxic effects of N-nitrosodimethylamine in pregnant mice

C. Bolognesi, L. Rossi, L. Santi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DNA damage and repair in kidney and liver of mouse fetuses exposed to selected doses of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) (CAS No. 62.75.9) were studied using the alkaline elution technique. CD1 female mice (15 days pregnant) were treated i.p. with 2 and 10 mg/kg b.w. of NDMA; a slight increase in DNA damage was observed in their fetuses compared to untreated controls. A 2-fold higher extent of DNA damage was induced when mice were treated by intrafetal injections of a rat S9 activating fraction (S9) immediately before exposure to the same dose of NDMA by transplacental means. The DNA-strand breaks disappeared as a function of time in animals treated with NDMA alone. In contrast, a significant persistence of DNA damage was detected in the liver and lung of fetuses which were treated with S9 and NDMA in sequence. These experiments demonstrate the metabolic immaturity of unborn mice as far as the carcinogenic activation of NDMA is concerned and show the high susceptibility of fetal tissues to DNA-damaging agents. The alkaline elution applied in vivo by the transplacental route combined with the intrafetal injection of an exogenous activating microsomal fraction allow to extend our knowledge on the interaction of metabolism-dependent chemicals with fetal tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalMutation Research Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Toxicology
  • Medicine(all)


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