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The combination of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) is a widely used drug. In spite of this, there are few reports on its genotoxicity, and the results are controversial. Severe malnutrition is a complex condition that increases the susceptibility to infections. Consequently, drugs are extensively used in malnutrition cases. Experimental animal models have been widely used to study the effects of malnutrition. Neonatal rats were experimentally malnourished (UN) during lactation. The UN rats weighed 51.1% less than the well-nourished (WN) controls and had lower concentrations of serum protein and blood lipids. The micronucleus (MN) assay is useful for detecting chromosome damage induced by nutritional deficiencies. In vivo rodent MN assays have been widely used to screen genotoxic agents. In this study, we have evaluated the frequency of spontaneous and TMP-SMX-induced micronuclei in the peripheral blood of weanling (21 days of age) rats using a flow cytometric analysis technique. The spontaneous frequency of micronucleated reticulocytes (MN-RETs) was 2.7 times greater in the UN rats than in the WN rats. In rats that were not treated with TMP-SMX, the percentage of reticulocytes was significantly lower (41.1%) in the UN rats than the WN controls. A therapeutic dose of TMP-SMX (80 mg/kg (TMP), 400 mg/kg (SMX) for 48 hr) increased MN-RETs in the WN and in the UN rats. The data demonstrate the genotoxic effect of this drug. The results indicate that severe protein-calorie restriction and drug treatment enhance DNA damage in rat peripheral blood reticulocytes, potentially increasing the risk of negative effects on health. Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


Rocío Ortiz, Hilda Medina, Edith Cortés, Elsa Cervantes, Leonor Rodríguez. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole increase micronuclei formation in peripheral blood from weanling well-nourished and malnourished rats. Environmental and molecular mutagenesis. 2011 Oct;52(8):673-80

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PMID: 21826741

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