U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Dec 09, 2023
(a) Purpose. The in vivo bone marrow cytogenetic test is a mutagenicity test for the detection of structural chromosomal aberrations. Chromosomal aberrations are generally evaluated in first post-treatment mitoses. With the majority of chemical mutagens, induced aberrations are of the chromatid type but chromosome type aberrations also occur.
(b) Definitions. (1) Chromosome-type aberrations are changes which result from damage expressed in both sister chromatids at the same time.
(2) Chromatid-type aberrations are damage expressed as breakage of single chromatids or breakage and/or reunion between chromatids.
(c) Reference substances. Not applicable.
(d) Test method—(1) Principle. Animals are exposed to test chemicals by appropriate routes and are sacrificed at sequential intervals. Chromosome preparations are made from bone marrow cells. The stained preparations are examined and metaphase cells are scored for chromosomal aberrations.
(2) Description. The method employs bone marrow of laboratory rodents which have been exposed to test chemicals. Prior to sacrifice, animals are further treated with a spindle inhibitor, (e.g., colchicine or Colcemid ®) to arrest the cells in c-metaphase. Chromosome preparations from the cells are stained and scored for chromosomal aberrations.
(3) Animal selection—(i) Species and strain. Any appropriate mammalian species may be used. Examples of commonly used rodent species are rats, mice, and hamsters.
(ii) Age. Healthy young adult animals shall be used.
(iii) Number and sex. At least five female and five male animals per experimental and control group shall be used. Thus, 10 animals would be sacrificed per time per group treated with the test compound if several test times after treatment are included in the experimental schedule. The use of a single sex or smaller number of animals should be justified.
(iv) Assignment to groups. Animals shall be randomized and assigned to treatment and control groups.
(4) Control groups—(1) Concurrent controls. (i) Concurrent positive and negative (vehicle) controls shall be included in the assay.
(ii) Positive controls. A single dose positive control showing a significant response at any one time point is adequate. A compound known to produce chromosomal aberrations in vivo shall be employed as the positive control.
(5) Test chemicals—(i) Vehicle. When possible, test chemicals shall be dissolved in isotonic saline or distilled water. Water insoluble chemicals may be dissolved or suspended in appropriate vehicles. The vehicles used shall neither interfere with the test chemical nor produce toxic effects. Fresh preparations of the test compound should be employed.
(ii) Dose levels. For an initial assessment, one dose of the test substance may be used, the dose being the maximum tolerated dose (to a maximum of 5,000 mg/kg) or that producing some indication of cytotoxicity (e.g., partial inhibition of mitosis) or shall be the highest dose attainable (to a maximum of 5,000 mg/kg). Additional dose levels may be used. For determination of dose-response, at least three dose levels should be used.
(iii) Route of administration. The usual routes are oral or by intraperitoneal injection. Other routes may be appropriate.
(iv) Treatment schedule. In general, test substances should be administered once only. However, based on toxicological information a repeated treatment schedule may be employed.
(e) Test performance—(1) Generally the test may be performed in two assays. (i) Animals should be treated with the test substance once at the selected dose(s). Samples should be taken at three times after treatment. For rodents, the central sampling interval is 24 hours. Since cell cycle kinetics can be influenced by the test substance, one earlier and one later sampling interval adequately spaced within the range of 6 to 48 hours shall be applied. Where the additional dose levels are tested in a subsequent experiment, samples shall be taken at the predetermined most sensitive interval or, if this is not established, at the central sampling time. If the most sensitive interval is known and documented with data, only this one time point shall be sampled.
(ii) If a repeated treatment schedule is used at the selected dose(s), samples shall be taken 6 and 24 hours after the last treatment; other sampling times may be used if justified. Where the additional dose levels are tested in a subsequent experiment, samples shall be taken at the predetermined most sensitive interval or, if this is not established, at 6 hours after the last treatment.
(2) Administration of spindle inhibitor. Prior to sacrifice, animals shall be injected IP with an appropriate dose of a spindle inhibitor (e.g., colchicine or Colcemid ®) to arrest cells in c-metaphase.
(3) Preparation of slides. Immediately after sacrifice, the bone marrow shall be obtained, exposed to hypotonic solution, and fixed. The cells shall then be spread on slides and stained. Chromosome preparations shall be made following standard procedures.
(4) Analysis. The number of cells to be analyzed per animal should be based upon the number of animals used, the negative control frequency, the predetermined sensitivity, and the power chosen for the test. Slides shall be coded before microscopic analysis.
(f) Data and report—(1) Treatment of results. Data should be presented in tabular form for both cells and animals. Different types of structural chromosomal aberrations should be listed with their numbers and a mean frequency per cell for each animal in all treated and control groups. Gaps (achromatic lesions) should be recorded separately and not included in the total abberration frequency. Differences among animals within each group should be considered before making comparisons between treated and control groups.
(2) Statistical evaluation. Data should be evaluated by appropriate statistical methods.
(3) Interpretation of results. (i) There are several criteria for determining a positive result, one of which is a statistically significant dose-related increase in the number of structual chromosomal aberrations or abnormal metaphase figures. Another criterion may be based upon detection of a reproducible and statistically significant positive response for a least one of the test points.
(ii) A test substance which does not produce either a statistically significant dose-related increase in the number of chromosomal aberrations or abnormal metaphase figures or a statistically significant and reproducible positive response at any one of the test points is considered nonmutagenic in this system.
(iii) Both biological and statistical significance should be considered together in the evaluation.
(4) Test evaluation. (i) Positive results in the in vivo bone marrow cytogenetics assay indicate that under the test conditions the test substance induces chromosomal aberrations in the bone marrow of the test species.
(ii) Negative results indicate that under the test conditions, the test substance does not induce chromosomal aberrations in the bone marrow of the test species.
(5) Test report. In addition to the reporting recommendations as specified under 40 CFR part 792, subpart J the following specific information shall be reported:
(i) Species, strain, age, weight, number and sex of animals in each treatment and control group.
(ii) Test chemical vehicle, dose levels used, rationale for dose selection.
(iii) Route of administration, treatment and sampling schedules, toxicity data, negative and positive controls.
(iv) Identity of spindle-inhibitor, its concentration and duration of treatment.
(v) Details of the protocol used for chromosome preparation, number of cells scored per animal, type and number of aberrations given separately for each treated and control animal.
(vi) Mitotic index, where applicable.
(vii) Criteria for scoring aberrations.
(viii) Number and frequency of aberrant cells per animal in each treatment and control groups.
(ix) Total number of aberrations per group.
(x) Number of cells with aberrations per group.
(xi) Dose-response relationship, if applicable.
(g) References. For additional background information on this test guideline the following references should be consulted:
(1) Adler, I.D., Ramarao, G., Epstein, S.S. “In vivo cytogenetic effects of trimethyl-phosphate and of TEPA on bone marrow cells of male rats,” Mutation Research, 13:263–273 (1971).
(2) Evans, H.J. “Cytological methods for detecting chemical mutagens,” Chemical Mutagens: Principles and Methods for Their Detection, Vol. 4. Ed. A. Hollaender (New York and London: Plenum Press, 1976) pp. 1–29.
(3) Kilian, J.D., Moreland, F.E. Benge, M.C., Legator, M.S., Whorton, E.B. Jr. “A collaborative study to measure intralaboratory variation with the in vivo bone morrow metaphase procedure,” Handbook of mutagenicity test procedures. Eds. Kilby, B.J., Legator, M. Nichols, C., Ramel, D., (Amsterdam: Elsevier/North Holland Biomedical Press, 1977) 243–260.
(4) Preston, J.R., Au, W., Bender, M.A., Brewen, J.G., Carrano, A.V. Heddle, J.A., McFee, A.F., Wolff, S., Wassom, J. “Mammalian in vivo and vitro cytogenetics assays: Report of the Gene-Tox Program,” Mutation Research, 87:143–188 (1981).