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The novel psychoactive substance (NPS) 4-Methyl-5-(4-methylphenyl)-4,5-dihydroxazol-2-amine (4,4'-DMAR) shows psychostimulant activity. Data on the acute toxicity of 4,4'-DMAR are becoming increasingly available, yet the long-term effects are still almost unknown. In particular, no data on genotoxicity are available. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate its genotoxic potential using the "In Vitro Mammalian Cell Micronucleus Test" (MNvit) on (±)cis-4,4'-DMAR and (±)trans-4,4'-DMAR and their associations. The analyses were conducted in vitro on human TK6 cells. To select suitable concentrations for MNvit, we preliminarily evaluated cytotoxicity and apoptosis. All endpoints were analysed by flow cytometry. The results reveal the two racemates' opposite behaviours: (±)cis-4,4'-DMAR shows a statistically significant increase in micronuclei (MNi) frequency that (±)trans-4,4'-DMAR is completely incapable of. This contrast confirms the well-known possibility of observing opposite biological effects of the cis- and trans- isomers of a compound, and it highlights the importance of testing single NPSs that show even small differences in structure or conformation. The genotoxic capacity demonstrated stresses an additional alarming toxicological concern related to this NPS. Moreover, the co-treatments indicate that consuming both racemates will magnify the genotoxic effect, an aspect to consider given the unpredictability of illicit drug composition.


Monia Lenzi, Sofia Gasperini, Veronica Cocchi, Micaela Tirri, Matteo Marti, Patrizia Hrelia. Genotoxicological Characterization of (±)cis-4,4'-DMAR and (±)trans-4,4'-DMAR and Their Association. International journal of molecular sciences. 2022 May 23;23(10)

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PMID: 35628658

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