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.


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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