To assess the genotoxicity of 14 chemical agents used in dental practice, the ability of these agents to induce chromosome aberrations was examined using Syrian hamster embryo (SHE) cells. Statistically significant increases in the frequencies of chromosome aberrations were induced in SHE cells treated with 7 of 10 chemical agents used as endodontic medicaments, that is, carbol camphor, m-cresol, eugenol, guaiacol, zinc oxide, hydrogen peroxide, and formaldehyde. The other 3 chemical agents, that is, thymol, glutaraldehyde, and iodoform, did not increase the levels of chromosome aberrations. Of the 4 chemical agents that are used as an antiseptic on the oral mucosa, chromosome aberrations were induced by iodine, but not by the other 3 antiseptics, benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chlorhexidine. Among the 6 chemical agents exhibiting a negative response in the assay, only thymol induced chromosome aberrations in the presence of exogenous metabolic activation. Our results indicate that chemical agents having a positive response in the present study are potentially genotoxic to mammalian cells and need to be studied further in detail.
The Japanese Pharmacological Society 2005