Objective(s): Precision-cut tissue slices are considered an organotypic 3D model widely used in biomedical research. The comet assay is an important screening test for early genotoxicity risk assessment that is mainly applied on in vitro models. The aim of the present study was to provide a 3D organ system for determination of genotoxicity using a modified method of the comet assay since the stromal components from the original tissue make this technique complicated.
Materials and Methods: A modified comet assay technique was validated using precision-cut hamster kidney slices to analyze the antigenotoxic effect of the phenolic compounds caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, and rosmarinic acid in tissue slices incubated with 15 µM HgCl2. Cytotoxicity of the phenolic compounds was studied in Vero cells, and by morphologic analysis in tissue slices co-incubated with HgCl2 and phenolic compounds.
Results: A modification of the comet assay allows obtaining better and clear comet profiles for analysis. Noncytotoxic concentrations of phenolic acids protected kidney tissue slices against mercury-induced DNA damage, and at the same time, were not nephrotoxic. The highest protection was provided by 3 µg/ml caffeic acid, although 6 µg/ml rosmarinic and 9 µg/ml chlorogenic acids also exhibited protective effects.
Conclusion: This is the first time that a modification of the comet assay technique is reported as a tool to visualize the comets from kidney tissue slices in a clear and simple way. The phenolic compounds tested in this study provided protection against mercury-induced genotoxic damage in precision-cut kidney slices.