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Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a synthetic phenolic food additive that is used to prevent oils, fats, and shortenings from oxidative deterioration and rancidity. It was tested for potential cytotoxicity and genotoxicity upon A549 lung cancer cells. MTT assay and flow cytometry analysis were used for cytotoxicity assessment, whereas genotoxicity was evaluated in vitro by DAPI staining, alkaline comet, and DNA fragmentation assays. BHA dose- and time-dependently decreased the growth of A549 cells with an IC50 of ∼0.55, 0.4, and 0.3 mM BHA at 24, 48, and 72 h, respectively. Primary and late apoptosis in the treated cells was determined using the flow cytometry analyses. In addition, single-strand DNA breakage has been observed through the comet assay technique. In addition, the morphology of DAPI-stained cells and DNA fragmentation assay using gel electrophoresis showed clear fragmentation in the chromatin and DNA rings within the nucleus of cells treated with BHA.


Somayeh Vandghanooni, Ali Forouharmehr, Morteza Eskandani, Abolfazl Barzegari, Vala Kafil, Soheila Kashanian, Jafar Ezzati Nazhad Dolatabadi. Cytotoxicity and DNA fragmentation properties of butylated hydroxyanisole. DNA and cell biology. 2013 Mar;32(3):98-103

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PMID: 23413972

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