We have scored frequency of transformation and appearance of the oncogenic marker “long microvilli” in mouse embryo fibroblast C3H/10T½ cells in culture for the compound Ni3S2. Furthermore, we have scored for Ni3S2-induced sister chromatid exchange in cultured human lymphocytes. Nickel subsulfide in moderate doses caused morphological transformation to type I, II, and III foci and induced long microvilli on the cells in the transformed cultures, demonstrating oncogenic transforming ability. Higher doses led to cell lysis after a lag period. The carcinogenic potency of Ni3S2 in this system was not as strong as that of methylcholanthrene.

Ni3S2 increased the sister chromatid exchange frequency in human lymphocytes in a marginal, not dose-dependent way. The increased sister chromatid exchange may indicate that the carcinogenic effect of Ni3S2 is genetic rather than epigenetic.

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This work was sponsored in parts by grants from the Norwegian Cancer Society and from the Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

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