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The Chinese hamster V79 lung cell in vitro micronucleus assay was adapted to detect and quantify phototoxicity and photogenotoxicity of fluoroquinolones. Using this assay, the quinolones were ranked in terms of decreasing phototoxicity: clinafloxacin >> lomefloxacin, sparfloxacin >> trovafloxacin, nalidixic acid, ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin > enoxacin, norfloxacin. This rank order agrees well with published studies utilizing various other phototoxicity models and establishes this approach as a fast and sensitive way to characterize the phototoxic potential of quinolones. Nearly complete inhibition of phototoxicity was observed if the cells were pretreated for as little as 1 min with 10-20 mM sodium azide prior to the addition of quinolone. An identical azide effect was seen in unirradiated quinolone- and etoposide-treated cells. These findings are consistent with a model in which sodium azide renders DNA topoisomerase II catalytically inactive. In this state, topoisomerase II cannot initiate DNA strand cleavage and the DNA/topoisomerase complex becomes insensitive to quinolones and other topoisomerase II inhibitors. The fact that azide reduces both UV-dependent and UV-independent toxicity and clastogenicity strongly suggests a common mechanism of toxicity dependent on the formation of topoisomerase-induced DNA double-strand breaks.


R D Snyder, C S Cooper. Photogenotoxicity of fluoroquinolones in Chinese hamster V79 cells: dependency on active topoisomerase II. Photochemistry and photobiology. 1999 Mar;69(3):288-93

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PMID: 10089819

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