The ability of three model carcinogens, 1,2-dimethylhydrazine, dimethylnitrosamine, and 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline, to induce mutation in a novel in vivo assay in mouse intestine has been examined. The assay is based on mutations at the Dlb-1 locus which determines the tissue specific pattern of expression of the binding site for the lectin Dolichos biflorus agglutinin. In C57BL/6J × SWR F1 mice Dlb-1 mutants are recognized as clones of epithelial cells not staining with a peroxidase conjugate of D. biflorus agglutinin. Chronic administration of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (20 mg/kg/week s.c. for 10 weeks) induced Dlb-1 mutants, whereas administration of a single dose did not. Similarly, chronic dimethylnitrosamine treatment p.o. (0.001% in drinking water for 8 weeks) induced Dlb-1 mutants, but acute administration did not. In contrast, neither chronic nor acute treatment of the mice with 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline induced Dlb-1 mutations. The activities of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine, dimethylnitrosamine, and 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline in the Dlb-1 assay more accurately reflect their carcinogenic potential than do many in vitro bioassays.

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This study was supported by the Cancer Research Campaign and by the National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services (USPHS Grant CA40895-02).

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