This article concerns the use of the lymphocyte cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) assay in biomonitoring of occupational and environmental exposures to genotoxic agents. Furthermore, we evaluated the use of this method in different exposure scenarios, in comparison to other DNA damage biomarkers and its regional distribution. So far ca. 400 studies have been published and the number increased substantially in the last years. The most frequently investigated groups are hospital personnel, followed by workers in the chemical industry and agricultural workers. The lymphocyte CBMN assay is more frequently used in occupational studies than MN assays with epithelial cells and other methods, such as chromosomal aberration analyses, Comet assay and DNA-adduct measurements. The use of probes which enable the discrimination between MN containing chromosome fragments and whole chromosomes allows the identification of the molecular mechanisms of MN formation. Most studies were performed in Europe and Asia (ca. 65% and 25%, respectively). Important future developments will be the evaluation of the biological consequences of formation of additional nuclear endpoints (e.g. nucleoplasmic bridges), the improvement of the understanding of the health consequences of their formation, and the use of automated scoring devices. Future applications of the CBMN assay should address new emerging problems, e.g. the potential genotoxic damage induced by the use of nanoparticles and mobile phones. The control of occupational exposures to chemical genotoxins is currently based on chemical measurements which do not reflect interactions of individual factors and the inclusion of the lymphocyte CBMN assay in routine surveillance of workers could contribute substantially to the prevention of adverse health effects.
- Environmental exposure
- Occupational exposure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis