Publications by authors named "Marilyn J Aardema"

42 Publications

Validation of the 3D reconstructed human skin micronucleus (RSMN) assay: an animal-free alternative for following-up positive results from standard in vitro genotoxicity assays.

Mutagenesis 2021 04;36(1):1-17

Marilyn Aardema Consulting LLC, Fairfield, OH, USA.

In vitro test batteries have become the standard approach to determine the genotoxic potential of substances of interest across industry sectors. While useful for hazard identification, standard in vitro genotoxicity assays in 2D cell cultures have limited capability to predict in vivo outcomes and may trigger unnecessary follow-up animal studies or the loss of promising substances where animal tests are prohibited or not desired. To address this problem, a team of regulatory, academia and industry scientists was established to develop and validate 3D in vitro human skin-based genotoxicity assays for use in testing substances with primarily topical exposure. Validation of the reconstructed human skin micronucleus (RSMN) assay in MatTek Epi-200™ skin models involved testing 43 coded chemicals selected by independent experts, in four US/European laboratories. The results were analysed by an independent statistician according to predefined criteria. The RSMN assay showed a reproducibly low background micronucleus frequency and exhibited sufficient capacity to metabolise pro-mutagens. The overall RSMN accuracy when compared to in vivo genotoxicity outcomes was 80%, with a sensitivity of 75% and a specificity of 84%, and the between- and within-laboratory reproducibility was 77 and 84%, respectively. A protocol involving a 72-h exposure showed increased sensitivity in detecting true positive chemicals compared to a 48-h exposure. An analysis of a test strategy using the RSMN assay as a follow-up test for substances positive in standard in vitro clastogenicity/aneugenicity assays and a reconstructed skin Comet assay for substances with positive results in standard gene mutation assays results in a sensitivity of 89%. Based on these results, the RSMN assay is considered sufficiently validated to establish it as a 'tier 2' assay for dermally exposed compounds and was recently accepted into the OECD's test guideline development program.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mutage/geaa035DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8081377PMC
April 2021

A weight of evidence assessment of the genotoxic potential of 4-methylimidazole as a possible mode of action for the formation of lung tumors in exposed mice.

Food Chem Toxicol 2020 Nov 1;145:111652. Epub 2020 Aug 1.

Toxicology Regulatory Services, Charlottesville, VA, USA.

4-Methylimidazole (4-MeI) is a byproduct formed during the cooking of foods containing carbohydrates and amino acids, including the production of flavors and coloring substances, e.g., class III and IV caramel colors, used in many food products with extensive human exposure. Two-year rodent bioassays via oral exposure conducted by the National Toxicology Program reported evidence of carcinogenicity only in B6C3F mice (increased alveolar/bronchial neoplasms). In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified 4-MeI as Group 2B, "possibly carcinogenic to humans". An expert panel was commissioned to assess the genotoxic potential of 4-MeI and the plausibility of a genotoxic mode of action in the formation of lung tumors in mice when exposed to high doses of 4-MeI. The panel defined and used a weight-of-evidence (WOE) approach that included thorough evaluation of studies assessing the genotoxic potential of 4-MeI. The panelists categorized each study, consisting of study weight, degree of technical performance, study reliability, and contribution to the overall WOE. Based on the reviewed studies' weighted contribution, the panel unanimously concluded that the WOE supports no clear evidence of in vivo genotoxicity of 4-MeI and no association for a genotoxic mode of action in the formation of mouse lung tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2020.111652DOI Listing
November 2020

A comparison of transgenic rodent mutation and in vivo comet assay responses for 91 chemicals.

Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen 2019 Mar 18;839:21-35. Epub 2019 Jan 18.

MilliporeSigma, BioReliance Toxicology Testing Services, Rockville, MD, USA.

A database of 91 chemicals with published data from both transgenic rodent mutation (TGR) and rodent comet assays has been compiled. The objective was to compare the sensitivity of the two assays for detecting genotoxicity. Critical aspects of study design and results were tabulated for each dataset. There were fewer datasets from rats than mice, particularly for the TGR assay, and therefore, results from both species were combined for further analysis. TGR and comet responses were compared in liver and bone marrow (the most commonly studied tissues), and in stomach and colon evaluated either separately or in combination with other GI tract segments. Overall positive, negative, or equivocal test results were assessed for each chemical across the tissues examined in the TGR and comet assays using two approaches: 1) overall calls based on weight of evidence (WoE) and expert judgement, and 2) curation of the data based on a priori acceptability criteria prior to deriving final tissue specific calls. Since the database contains a high prevalence of positive results, overall agreement between the assays was determined using statistics adjusted for prevalence (using AC1 and PABAK). These coefficients showed fair or moderate to good agreement for liver and the GI tract (predominantly stomach and colon data) using WoE, reduced agreement for stomach and colon evaluated separately using data curation, and poor or no agreement for bone marrow using both the WoE and data curation approaches. Confidence in these results is higher for liver than for the other tissues, for which there were less data. Our analysis finds that comet and TGR generally identify the same compounds (mainly potent mutagens) as genotoxic in liver, stomach and colon, but not in bone marrow. However, the current database content precluded drawing assay concordance conclusions for weak mutagens and non-DNA reactive chemicals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2019.01.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6697155PMC
March 2019

Identifying germ cell mutagens using OECD test guideline 488 (transgenic rodent somatic and germ cell gene mutation assays) and integration with somatic cell testing.

Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen 2018 Aug 29;832-833:7-18. Epub 2018 May 29.

Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Test Guideline 488 (TG 488) provides recommendations for assessing germ cell and somatic cell mutagenicity using transgenic rodent (TGR) models. However, important data gaps exist for selecting an optimal approach for simultaneously evaluating mutagenicity in both cell types. It is uncertain whether analysis of germ cells from seminiferous tubules (hereafter, tubule germ cells) or caudal sperm within the recommended design for somatic tissues (i.e., 28 days of exposure plus three days of fixation time, 28 + 3d) has enough sensitivity to detect an effect as compared with the analysis of sperm within the recommended design for germ cells (i.e., 28 + 49d and 28 + 70d for mouse and rat, respectively). To address these data gaps, the Germ Cell workgroup of the Genetic Toxicology Technical Committee of the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute reviewed the available TGR mutagenicity data in male germ cells, and, characterized the exposure history of tubule germ cells for different sampling times to evaluate its impact on germ cell mutagenicity testing using TG 488. Our analyses suggest that evaluating mutant frequencies in: i) sperm from the cauda epididymis at 28 + 3d does not provide meaningful mutagenicity data; ii), tubule germ cells at 28 + 3d provides reliable mutagenicity data only if the results are positive; and iii) tubule germ cells at 28 + 28d produces reliable positive and negative results in both mice and rats. Thus, the 28 + 28d regimen may provide an approach for simultaneously assessing mutagenicity in somatic tissues and germ cells from the same animals. Further work is required to support the 28 + 28d protocol for tissues other than slowly proliferating tissues as per current TG 488. Finally, recommendations are provided to guide the experimental design for germ cell mutagenicity data for regulatory submission, as well as other possible approaches to increase the reliability of the TGR assay.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2018.05.021DOI Listing
August 2018

Genotoxicity Assessment of Nanomaterials: Recommendations on Best Practices, Assays, and Methods.

Toxicol Sci 2018 08;164(2):391-416

ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI), Washington, District of Columbia 20005.

Nanomaterials (NMs) present unique challenges in safety evaluation. An international working group, the Genetic Toxicology Technical Committee of the International Life Sciences Institute's Health and Environmental Sciences Institute, has addressed issues related to the genotoxicity assessment of NMs. A critical review of published data has been followed by recommendations on methods alterations and best practices for the standard genotoxicity assays: bacterial reverse mutation (Ames); in vitro mammalian assays for mutations, chromosomal aberrations, micronucleus induction, or DNA strand breaks (comet); and in vivo assays for genetic damage (micronucleus, comet and transgenic mutation assays). The analysis found a great diversity of tests and systems used for in vitro assays; many did not meet criteria for a valid test, and/or did not use validated cells and methods in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Test Guidelines, and so these results could not be interpreted. In vivo assays were less common but better performed. It was not possible to develop conclusions on test system agreement, NM activity, or mechanism of action. However, the limited responses observed for most NMs were consistent with indirect genotoxic effects, rather than direct interaction of NMs with DNA. We propose a revised genotoxicity test battery for NMs that includes in vitro mammalian cell mutagenicity and clastogenicity assessments; in vivo assessments would be added only if warranted by information on specific organ exposure or sequestration of NMs. The bacterial assays are generally uninformative for NMs due to limited particle uptake and possible lack of mechanistic relevance, and are thus omitted in our recommended test battery for NM assessment. Recommendations include NM characterization in the test medium, verification of uptake into target cells, and limited assay-specific methods alterations to avoid interference with uptake or endpoint analysis. These recommendations are summarized in a Roadmap guideline for testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfy100DOI Listing
August 2018

The EpiDerm™ 3D human reconstructed skin micronucleus (RSMN) assay: Historical control data and proof of principle studies for mechanistic assay adaptations.

Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen 2016 Jul 26;805:25-37. Epub 2016 May 26.

Marilyn Aardema Consulting LLC, 5315 Oakbrook Dr., Fairfield, OH 45014, USA.

The in vitro human reconstructed skin micronucleus (RSMN) assay in EpiDerm™ is a promising novel animal alternative for evaluating genotoxicity of topically applied chemicals. It is particularly useful for assessing cosmetic ingredients that can no longer be tested using in vivo assays. To advance the use of this test especially for regulatory decision-making, we have established the RSMN assay in our laboratory according to Good Laboratory Practice and following the principles of the OECD test guideline 487 in vitro mammalian cell micronucleus test. Proficiency with the assay was established by correctly identifying direct-acting genotoxins and genotoxins requiring metabolism, as well as non-genotoxic/non-carcinogenic chemicals. We also report the analysis of our historical control data that demonstrate vehicle control and positive control values for %micronuclei in binucleated cells are in the ranges reported previously. Technical issues including evaluating various solvents with both 48h and 72h treatment regimens were investigated. For the first time, mechanistic studies using CREST analysis revealed that the RSMN assay is suitable for distinguishing aneugens and clastogens. Moreover, the assay is also suitable for measuring cytokines as markers for proliferative and toxic effects of chemicals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2016.05.010DOI Listing
July 2016

Approaches for identifying germ cell mutagens: Report of the 2013 IWGT workshop on germ cell assays(☆).

Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen 2015 May 24;783:36-54. Epub 2015 Jan 24.

Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada. Electronic address:

This workshop reviewed the current science to inform and recommend the best evidence-based approaches on the use of germ cell genotoxicity tests. The workshop questions and key outcomes were as follows. (1) Do genotoxicity and mutagenicity assays in somatic cells predict germ cell effects? Limited data suggest that somatic cell tests detect most germ cell mutagens, but there are strong concerns that dictate caution in drawing conclusions. (2) Should germ cell tests be done, and when? If there is evidence that a chemical or its metabolite(s) will not reach target germ cells or gonadal tissue, it is not necessary to conduct germ cell tests, notwithstanding somatic outcomes. However, it was recommended that negative somatic cell mutagens with clear evidence for gonadal exposure and evidence of toxicity in germ cells could be considered for germ cell mutagenicity testing. For somatic mutagens that are known to reach the gonadal compartments and expose germ cells, the chemical could be assumed to be a germ cell mutagen without further testing. Nevertheless, germ cell mutagenicity testing would be needed for quantitative risk assessment. (3) What new assays should be implemented and how? There is an immediate need for research on the application of whole genome sequencing in heritable mutation analysis in humans and animals, and integration of germ cell assays with somatic cell genotoxicity tests. Focus should be on environmental exposures that can cause de novo mutations, particularly newly recognized types of genomic changes. Mutational events, which may occur by exposure of germ cells during embryonic development, should also be investigated. Finally, where there are indications of germ cell toxicity in repeat dose or reproductive toxicology tests, consideration should be given to leveraging those studies to inform of possible germ cell genotoxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2015.01.008DOI Listing
May 2015

Integration of Pig-a, micronucleus, chromosome aberration and comet assay endpoints in a 28-day rodent toxicity study with urethane.

Mutagenesis 2015 May 1;30(3):335-42. Epub 2015 May 1.

BioReliance Corporation, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.

As part of the international Pig-a validation trials, we examined the induction of Pig-a mutant reticulocytes and red blood cells (RET(CD59-) and RBC(CD59-), respectively) in peripheral blood of male Sprague Dawley(®) rats treated with urethane (25, 100 and 250mg/kg/day) or saline by oral gavage for 29 days. Additional endpoints integrated into this study were: micronucleated reticulocytes (MN-RET) in peripheral blood; chromosome aberrations (CAb) and DNA damage (%tail intensity via the comet assay) in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL); micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes (MN-PCE) in bone marrow; and DNA damage (comet) in various organs at termination (the 29th dose was added for the comet endpoint at sacrifice). Ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS; 200mg/kg/day on Days 3, 4, 13, 14, 15, 27, 28 and 29) was evaluated as the concurrent positive control (PC). All animals survived to termination and none exhibited overt toxicity, but there were significant differences in body weight and body weight gain in the 250-mg/kg/day urethane group, as compared with the saline control animals. Statistically significant, dose-dependent increases were observed for urethane for: RET(CD59-) and RBC(CD59-) (on Days 15 and 29); MN-RET (on Days 4, 15 and 29); and MN-PCE (on Day 29). The comet assay yielded positive results in PBL (Day 15) and liver (Day 29), but negative results for PBL (Days 4 and 29) and brain, kidney and lung (Day 29). No significant increases in PBL CAb were observed at any sample time. Except for PBL CAb (likely due to excessive cytotoxicity), EMS-induced significant increases in all endpoints/tissues. These results compare favorably with earlier in vivo observations and demonstrate the utility and sensitivity of the Pig-a in vivo gene mutation assay, and its ability to be easily integrated, along with other standard genotoxicity endpoints, into 28-day rodent toxicity studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mutage/gev013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4506322PMC
May 2015

An evaluation of 25 selected ToxCast chemicals in medium-throughput assays to detect genotoxicity.

Environ Mol Mutagen 2015 06 23;56(5):468-76. Epub 2014 Dec 23.

National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

ToxCast is a multiyear effort to develop a cost-effective approach for the US EPA to prioritize chemicals for toxicity testing. Initial evaluation of more than 500 high-throughput (HT) microwell-based assays without metabolic activation showed that most lacked high specificity and sensitivity for detecting genotoxicants. Thus, EPA initiated a pilot project to investigate the use of standard genotoxicity endpoints using medium-throughput genotoxicity (MTG) assays in the context of a large testing program. Twenty-five chemicals were selected from the ToxCast program based in part on their known genotoxicity. The two MTG assays used were the Ames II(™) assay and 96-well In Vitro MicroFlow(®) Micronucleus (MN) assay. The Ames II assay showed a reasonable correlation with published Ames test data and industry submissions, though specificity was much better than sensitivity due to restraints on top concentrations as prescribed by ToxCast. Overall concordance was 73% both with and without metabolic activation. The flow MN assay had concordances of 71% and 58% with and without metabolic activation, respectively, when compared to published data and submissions. Importantly, a comparison of results without S9 from the MTG assays to an HT ToxCast p53 activation assay showed a fairly good degree of concordance (67%). The results reported here indicate that assays for genotoxicity endpoints can be conducted in a MT format and have the potential to add to the interpretation of results from large-scale testing programs such as EPA's ToxCast program. Inherent limitations such as the top concentrations used in large scale testing programs are discussed. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 56:468-476, 2015. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/em.21934DOI Listing
June 2015

Opportunities to integrate new approaches in genetic toxicology: an ILSI-HESI workshop report.

Environ Mol Mutagen 2015 Apr 6;56(3):277-85. Epub 2014 Dec 6.

Errol Zeiger Consulting, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Genetic toxicity tests currently used to identify and characterize potential human mutagens and carcinogens rely on measurements of primary DNA damage, gene mutation, and chromosome damage in vitro and in rodents. The International Life Sciences Institute Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (ILSI-HESI) Committee on the Relevance and Follow-up of Positive Results in In Vitro Genetic Toxicity Testing held an April 2012 Workshop in Washington, DC, to consider the impact of new understanding of biology and new technologies on the identification and characterization of genotoxic substances, and to identify new approaches to inform more accurate human risk assessment for genetic and carcinogenic effects. Workshop organizers and speakers were from industry, academe, and government. The Workshop focused on biological effects and technologies that would potentially yield the most useful information for evaluating human risk of genetic damage. Also addressed was the impact that improved understanding of biology and availability of new techniques might have on genetic toxicology practices. Workshop topics included (1) alternative experimental models to improve genetic toxicity testing, (2) Biomarkers of epigenetic changes and their applicability to genetic toxicology, and (3) new technologies and approaches. The ability of these new tests and technologies to be developed into tests to identify and characterize genotoxic agents; to serve as a bridge between in vitro and in vivo rodent, or preferably human, data; or to be used to provide dose response information for quantitative risk assessment was also addressed. A summary of the workshop and links to the scientific presentations are provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/em.21923DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4615680PMC
April 2015

Emerging approaches in predictive toxicology.

Environ Mol Mutagen 2014 Dec 9;55(9):679-88. Epub 2014 Jul 9.

Genes and Environment Laboratory, Division of Environmental Health and Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, California.

Predictive toxicology plays an important role in the assessment of toxicity of chemicals and the drug development process. While there are several well-established in vitro and in vivo assays that are suitable for predictive toxicology, recent advances in high-throughput analytical technologies and model systems are expected to have a major impact on the field of predictive toxicology. This commentary provides an overview of the state of the current science and a brief discussion on future perspectives for the field of predictive toxicology for human toxicity. Computational models for predictive toxicology, needs for further refinement and obstacles to expand computational models to include additional classes of chemical compounds are highlighted. Functional and comparative genomics approaches in predictive toxicology are discussed with an emphasis on successful utilization of recently developed model systems for high-throughput analysis. The advantages of three-dimensional model systems and stem cells and their use in predictive toxicology testing are also described.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/em.21885DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4749138PMC
December 2014

Achieving professional success in US government, academia, and industry: an EMGS commentary.

Environ Mol Mutagen 2014 Aug 2;55(7):525-9. Epub 2014 May 2.

National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland.

One of the goals of the EMGS is to help members achieve professional success in the fields they have trained in. Today, there is greater competition for jobs in genetic toxicology, genomics, and basic research than ever before. In addition, job security and the ability to advance in one's career is challenging, regardless of whether one works in a regulatory, academic, or industry environment. At the EMGS Annual Meeting in Monterey, CA (September, 2013), the Women in EMGS Special Interest Group held a workshop to discuss strategies for achieving professional success. Presentations were given by three speakers, each representing a different employment environment: Government (Miriam C. Poirier), Academia (Jeffrey L. Schwartz), and Industry (Marilyn J. Aardema). Although some differences in factors or traits affecting success in the three employment sectors were noted by each of the speakers, common factors considered important for advancement included networking, seeking out mentors, and developing exceptional communication skills.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/em.21871DOI Listing
August 2014

The spectral karyotype of L5178Y TK⁺/⁻ mouse lymphoma cells clone 3.7.2C and factors affecting mutant frequency at the thymidine kinase (tk) locus in the microtitre mouse lymphoma assay.

Environ Mol Mutagen 2014 Jan 12;55(1):35-42. Epub 2013 Oct 12.

AstraZeneca, R&D Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire, United Kingdom.

There has been much discussion on acceptable spontaneous mutant frequencies in the mouse lymphoma assay (MLA). This culminated in the International Workshop on Genotoxicity Testing (IWGT) recommended control limits for the microtitre version of 50-170 mutants/10(6) viable cells, which has now been included in the draft Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development guideline for assays investigating mammalian cell gene mutation at the tk locus. Some of the factors affecting mutant frequency have been investigated. It was shown that when culturing methotrexate cleansed TK⁺/⁻ cells, a spontaneous mutant frequency of ∼100 mutants/10⁶ viable cells was achieved after only 26 doublings. However, after further culturing for ∼6 months the spontaneous mutant frequency only gradually increased. Culturing for this time did not affect the karyotype of the cell in so much as the modal chromosome number remained stable. The spontaneous mutant frequency could effectively be manipulated by cleansing with various concentrations of methotrexate. The necessity for using appropriately heat-inactivated horse serum was confirmed. Finally, following treatment with 4-nitroquinoline-N-oxide, cells did not preferentially survive when plated at high cell densities (1.6 cells plus 2,000 feeder cells/well) versus cells at low density (1.6 cells/well). It was considered that these findings confirm that the dynamics of spontaneous mutant formation in the MLA are complex. However, the karyotype of L5178Y cells is remarkably stable and assuming investigators are using cells with appropriate provenance and good culturing technique, it is clear that the IWGT recommendations are achievable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/em.21819DOI Listing
January 2014

The holy grail in genetic toxicology: follow-up approaches for positive results in the Ames assay.

Environ Mol Mutagen 2013 Oct 16;54(8):617-20. Epub 2013 Sep 16.

Marilyn Aardema Consulting, Fairfield, Ohio.

Positive results in the Ames/E. coli bacterial mutagenicity assay create a significant hurdle for the development of new products/drugs and as a result, most companies drop mutagenic ingredients from further development. One important consequence of this is that the understanding of the human relevance of chemicals that are positive in the Ames assay is not increasing at the pace seen with ingredients that are positive in the other in vitro genotoxicity assays. Recent advances in defining thresholds for mutagenic carcinogens, along with new assays for measuring mutagenicity in vivo suggests it is time to direct more attention to the holy grail of clearly defining practical approaches to address positive results in the Ames assay. To stimulate further discussion and research in this area, a review of the most current thinking on approaches for dealing with Ames positive results is provided along with some suggestions for the way forward.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/em.21813DOI Listing
October 2013

Genotoxicity of nanomaterials: refining strategies and tests for hazard identification.

Environ Mol Mutagen 2013 May 21;54(4):229-39. Epub 2013 Mar 21.

A workshop addressing strategies for the genotoxicity assessment of nanomaterials (NMs) was held on October 23, 2010 in Fort Worth Texas, USA. The workshop was organized by the Environmental Mutagen Society and the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Health and Environmental Sciences Institute. The workshop was attended by more than 80 participants from academia, regulatory agencies, and industry from North America, Europe and Japan. A plenary session featured summaries of the current status and issues related to the testing of NMs for genotoxic properties, as well as an update on international activities and regulatory approaches. This was followed by breakout sessions and a plenary session devoted to independent discussions of in vitro assays, in vivo assays, and the need for new assays or new approaches to develop a testing strategy for NMs. Each of the standard assays was critiqued as a resource for evaluation of NMs, and it became apparent that none was appropriate without special considerations or modifications. The need for nanospecific positive controls was questioned, as was the utility of bacterial assays. The latter was thought to increase the importance of including mammalian cell gene mutation assays into the test battery. For in-vivo testing, to inform the selection of appropriate tests or protocols, it was suggested to run repeated dose studies first to learn about disposition, potential accumulation, and possible tissue damage. It was acknowledged that mechanisms may be at play that a standard genotoxicity battery may not be able to capture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/em.21770DOI Listing
May 2013

Evaluation of chemicals requiring metabolic activation in the EpiDerm™ 3D human reconstructed skin micronucleus (RSMN) assay.

Mutat Res 2013 Jan 27;750(1-2):40-9. Epub 2012 Sep 27.

Marilyn Aardema Consulting LLC, Fairfield, OH 45014, USA.

The in vitro human reconstructed skin micronucleus (RSMN) assay in EpiDerm™ is a promising new assay for evaluating genotoxicity of dermally applied chemicals. A global pre-validation project sponsored by the European Cosmetics Association (Cosmetics Europe - formerly known as COLIPA), and the European Center for Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), is underway. Results to date demonstrate international inter-laboratory and inter-experimental reproducibility of the assay for chemicals that do not require metabolism [Aardema et al., Mutat. Res. 701 (2010) 123-131]. We have expanded these studies to investigate chemicals that do require metabolic activation: 4-nitroquinoline-N-oxide (4NQO), cyclophosphamide (CP), dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA), dimethylnitrosamine (DMN), dibenzanthracene (DBA) and benzo(a)pyrene (BaP). In this study, the standard protocol of two applications over 48h was compared with an extended protocol involving three applications over 72h. Extending the treatment period to 72h changed the result significantly only for 4NQO, which was negative in the standard 48h dosing regimen, but positive with the 72h treatment. DMBA and CP were positive in the standard 48h assay (CP induced a more reproducible response with the 72h treatment) and BaP gave mixed results; DBA and DMN were negative in both the 48h and the 72h dosing regimens. While further work with chemicals that require metabolism is needed, it appears that the RMSN assay detects some chemicals that require metabolic activation (4 out of 6 chemicals were positive in one or both protocols). At this point in time, for general testing, the use of a longer treatment period in situations where the standard 48h treatment is negative or questionable is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2012.08.009DOI Listing
January 2013

Summary of in vitro genetic toxicology assay results: expected and unexpected effects of recent study design modifications.

Environ Mol Mutagen 2012 Oct 26;53(8):631-5. Epub 2012 Sep 26.

BioReliance by SAFC, Rockville, Maryland, USA.

Key modifications to in vitro genetic toxicology testing have been made in the last 5 years including the use of optimization approaches such as structure-activity relationships and screening assays to identify and eliminate potentially genotoxic chemicals from further consideration, better guidance on cytotoxicity assessment and dose selection, and greater use of p53-competent human cells. To determine the effect of these changes on testing outcomes, the pattern of positive results across assays conducted by BioReliance from 2005 to 2010 was examined. Data were tabulated for good laboratory practice (GLP)-compliant Ames, mouse lymphoma (MLA), chromosome aberration in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, and in human peripheral blood lymphocytes (HPBL) assays along with non-GLP screening Ames assays. A decrease in percentage of positive results in MLA and CHO chromosome aberration assays was observed, whereas the percentage of positive Ames assays remained consistent. This was not unexpected because MLA and CHO cytogenetic assays have undergone the most substantive changes (e.g., the establishment of the Global Evaluation Factor for the MLA and the use of the relative increase in cell counts in CHO chromosome aberration assays). Over the last 5 years, there has been an increase in the percentage of positive results observed in the chromosome aberration assay in HPBL. It is speculated that this may have led to an increase in HPBL-positive results if the chemicals routed to HPBL had previous positive genotoxicity results. Another factor may be the lack of a reliable cytotoxicity measurement in the HPBL assay.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/em.21733DOI Listing
October 2012

Application of in vitro cell transformation assays in regulatory toxicology for pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food products and cosmetics.

Mutat Res 2012 Apr 10;744(1):111-6. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

ALTOXICON BVBA, Boskant 101, Vosselaar, Belgium.

Two year rodent bioassays play a key role in the assessment of carcinogenic potential of chemicals to humans. The seventh amendment to the European Cosmetics Directive will ban in 2013 the marketing of cosmetic and personal care products that contain ingredients that have been tested in animal models. Thus 2-year rodent bioassays will not be available for cosmetics/personal care products. Furthermore, for large testing programs like REACH, in vivo carcinogenicity testing is impractical. Alternative ways to carcinogenicity assessment are urgently required. In terms of standardization and validation, the most advanced in vitro tests for carcinogenicity are the cell transformation assays (CTAs). Although CTAs do not mimic the whole carcinogenesis process in vivo, they represent a valuable support in identifying transforming potential of chemicals. CTAs have been shown to detect genotoxic as well as non-genotoxic carcinogens and are helpful in the determination of thresholds for genotoxic and non-genotoxic carcinogens. The extensive review on CTAs by the OECD (OECD (2007) Environmental Health and Safety Publications, Series on Testing and Assessment, No. 31) and the proven within- and between-laboratories reproducibility of the SHE CTAs justifies broader use of these methods to assess carcinogenic potential of chemicals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2012.02.001DOI Listing
April 2012

ECVAM prevalidation study on in vitro cell transformation assays: general outline and conclusions of the study.

Mutat Res 2012 Apr 26;744(1):12-9. Epub 2011 Nov 26.

Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy.

The potential for a compound to induce carcinogenicity is a key consideration when ascertaining hazard and risk assessment of chemicals. Among the in vitro alternatives that have been developed for predicting carcinogenicity, in vitro cell transformation assays (CTAs) have been shown to involve a multistage process that closely models important stages of in vivo carcinogenesis and have the potential to detect both genotoxic and non-genotoxic carcinogens. These assays have been in use for decades and a substantial amount of data demonstrating their performance is available in the literature. However, for the standardised use of these assays for regulatory purposes, a formal evaluation of the assays, in particular focusing on development of standardised transferable protocols and further information on assay reproducibility, was considered important to serve as a basis for the drafting of generally accepted OECD test guidelines. To address this issue, a prevalidation study of the CTAs using the BALB/c 3T3 cell line, SHE cells at pH 6.7, and SHE cells at pH 7.0 was coordinated by the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) and focused on issues of standardisation of protocols, test method transferability and within- and between-laboratory reproducibility. The study resulted in the availability of standardised protocols that had undergone prevalidation [1,2]. The results of the ECVAM study demonstrated that for the BALB/c 3T3 method, some modifications to the protocol were needed to obtain reproducible results between laboratories, while the SHE pH 6.7 and the SHE pH 7.0 protocols are transferable between laboratories, and results are reproducible within- and between-laboratories. It is recommended that the BALB/c 3T3 and SHE protocols as instituted in this prevalidation study should be used in future applications of these respective transformation assays. To support their harmonised use and regulatory application, the development of an OECD test guideline for the SHE CTAs, based on the protocol published in this issue, is recommended. The development of an OECD test guideline for the BALB/c 3T3 CTA should likewise be further pursued upon the availability of additional supportive data and improvement of the statistical analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2011.11.009DOI Listing
April 2012

Cell transformation assays for prediction of carcinogenic potential: state of the science and future research needs.

Mutagenesis 2012 Jan 17;27(1):93-101. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research, Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK.

Cell transformation assays (CTAs) have long been proposed as in vitro methods for the identification of potential chemical carcinogens. Despite showing good correlation with rodent bioassay data, concerns over the subjective nature of using morphological criteria for identifying transformed cells and a lack of understanding of the mechanistic basis of the assays has limited their acceptance for regulatory purposes. However, recent drivers to find alternative carcinogenicity assessment methodologies, such as the Seventh Amendment to the EU Cosmetics Directive, have fuelled renewed interest in CTAs. Research is currently ongoing to improve the objectivity of the assays, reveal the underlying molecular changes leading to transformation and explore the use of novel cell types. The UK NC3Rs held an international workshop in November 2010 to review the current state of the art in this field and provide directions for future research. This paper outlines the key points highlighted at this meeting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mutage/ger053DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3241940PMC
January 2012

Guidance for understanding solubility as a limiting factor for selecting the upper test concentration in the OECD in vitro micronucleus assay test guideline no. 487.

Mutat Res 2011 May 3;722(1):89-90. Epub 2011 Apr 3.

Bioreliance Corporation, 14920 Broschart Road, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.

The OECD guideline for the in vitro mammalian cell micronucleus test (OECD 487) was recently adopted in July 22, 2010. Since its publication, it has become apparent that the guidance for testing chemicals where solubility is a limiting factor can be interpreted in a variety of ways. In this communication, we provide clarification for testing insoluble chemicals. The intent of the OECD 487 guideline is for the high dose to be the lowest precipitating concentration even if toxicity occurs above the solubility limit in tissue culture medium. Examination of precipitation can be done by the unaided eye or microscopically. Precipitation is examined at the onset or end of treatment, with the intent to identify precipitate present during treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2011.03.007DOI Listing
May 2011

Workshop summary: Top concentration for in vitro mammalian cell genotoxicity assays; and report from working group on toxicity measures and top concentration for in vitro cytogenetics assays (chromosome aberrations and micronucleus).

Mutat Res 2011 Aug 19;723(2):77-83. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

Merck Research Laboratories, W 45-316, West Point, PA 19486, USA.

The selection of maximum concentrations for in vitro mammalian cell genotoxicity assays was reviewed at the 5th International Workshop on Genotoxicity Testing (IWGT), 2009. Currently, the top concentration recommended when toxicity is not limiting is 10mM or 5mg/ml, whichever is lower. The discussion was whether to reduce the limit, and if so whether the 1mM limit proposed for human pharmaceuticals was appropriate for testing other chemicals. The consensus was that there was reason to consider reducing the 10mM limit, and many, but not all, attendees favored a reduction to 1mM. Several proposals are described here for the concentration limit. The in vitro cytogenetics expert working group also discussed appropriate measures and level of cytotoxicity. Data were reviewed from a multi-laboratory trial of the in vitro micronucleus (MN) assay with multiple cell types and several types of toxicity measurements. The group agreed on a preference for toxicity measures that take cell proliferation after the beginning of treatment into account (relative increase in cell counts, relative population doubling, cytokinesis block proliferation index or replicative index), and that this applies both to in vitro MN assays and to in vitro chromosome aberration assays. Since relative cell counts (RCC) underestimate toxicity, many group members favored making a recommendation against the use of RCC as a toxicity measure for concentration selection. All 14 chemicals assayed for MN induction in the multi-laboratory trial were detected without exceeding 50% toxicity by any measure, but some were positive only at concentrations with toxicity quite close to 50%. The expert working group agreed to accept the cytotoxicity range recommended by OECD guideline 487 (55±5% toxicity at the top concentration scored). This also reinforces the original intent of the guidance for the in vitro chromosome aberration assay, where ">50%" was intended to target the range close to 50% toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2011.01.003DOI Listing
August 2011

Improvement of in vivo genotoxicity assessment: combination of acute tests and integration into standard toxicity testing.

Mutat Res 2011 Aug 21;723(2):108-20. Epub 2010 Dec 21.

Bayer Schering Pharma AG, Genetic Toxicology, Berlin, Germany.

A working group convened at the 2009 5th IWGT to discuss possibilities for improving in vivo genotoxicity assessment by investigating possible links to standard toxicity testing. The working group considered: (1) combination of acute micronucleus (MN) and Comet assays into a single study, (2) integration of MN assays into repeated-dose toxicity (RDT) studies, (3) integration of Comet assays into RDT studies, and (4) requirements for the top dose when integrating genotoxicity measurements into RDT studies. The working group reviewed current requirements for in vivo genotoxicity testing of different chemical product classes and identified opportunities for combination and integration of genotoxicity endpoints for each class. The combination of the acute in vivo MN and Comet assays was considered by the working group to represent a technically feasible and scientifically acceptable alternative to conducting independent assays. Two combination protocols, consisting of either a 3- or a 4-treament protocol, were considered equally acceptable. As the integration of MN assays into RDT studies had already been discussed in detail in previous IWGT meetings, the working group focussed on factors that could affect the results of the integrated MN assay, such as the possible effects of repeated bleeding and the need for early harvests. The working group reached the consensus that repeated bleeding at reasonable volumes is not a critical confounding factor for the MN assay in rats older than 9 weeks of age and that rats bled for toxicokinetic investigations or for other routine toxicological purposes can be used for MN analysis. The working group considered the available data as insufficient to conclude that there is a need for an early sampling point for MN analysis in RDT studies, in addition to the routine determination at terminal sacrifice. Specific scenarios were identified where an additional early sampling can have advantages, e.g., for compounds that exert toxic effects on hematopoiesis, including some aneugens. For the integration of Comet assays into RDT studies, the working group reached the consensus that, based upon the limited amount of data available, integration is scientifically acceptable and that the liver Comet assay can complement the MN assay in blood or bone marrow in detecting in vivo genotoxins. Practical issues need to be considered when conducting an integrated Comet assay study. Freezing of tissue samples for later Comet assay analysis could alleviate logistical problems. However, the working group concluded that freezing of tissue samples can presently not be recommended for routine use, although it was noted that results from some laboratories look promising. Another discussion topic centred around the question as to whether tissue toxicity, which is more likely observed in RDT than in acute toxicity studies, would affect the results of the Comet assay. Based on the available data from in vivo studies, the working group concluded that there are no clear examples where cytotoxicity, by itself, generates increases or decreases in DNA migration. The working group identified the need for a refined guidance on the use and interpretation of cytotoxicity methods used in the Comet assay, as the different methods used generally lead to inconsistent conclusions. Since top doses in RDT studies often are limited by toxicity that occurs only after several doses, the working group discussed whether the sensitivity of integrated genotoxicity studies is reduced under these circumstances. For compounds for which in vitro genotoxicity studies yielded negative results, the working group reached the consensus that integration of in vivo genotoxicity endpoints (typically the MN assay) into RDT studies is generally acceptable. If in vitro genotoxicity results are unavailable or positive, consensus was reached that the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) is acceptable as the top dose in RDT studies in many cases, such as when the RDT study MTD or exposure is close (50% or greater) to an acute study MTD or exposure. Finally, the group agreed that exceptions to this general rule might be acceptable, for example when human exposure is lower than the preclinical exposure by a large margin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2010.12.005DOI Listing
August 2011

In vitro genotoxicity testing using the micronucleus assay in cell lines, human lymphocytes and 3D human skin models.

Mutagenesis 2011 Jan;26(1):177-84

Laboratorium voor Cellulaire Genetica, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.

The toxicological relevance of the micronucleus (MN) test is well defined: it is a multi-target genotoxic endpoint, assessing not only clastogenic and aneugenic events but also some epigenetic effects, which is simple to score, accurate, applicable in different cell types. In addition, it is predictive for cancer, amenable for automation and allows good extrapolation for potential limits of exposure or thresholds and it is easily measured in experimental both in vitro and in vivo systems. Implementation of in vitro micronucleus (IVMN) assays in the battery of tests for hazard and risk assessment of potential mutagens/carcinogens is therefore fully justified. Moreover, the final draft of an OECD guideline became recently available for this test. In this review, we discuss the prerequisites for an acceptable MN assay, including the cell as unit of observation, importance of cell membranes, the requirement of a mitotic or meiotic division and the assessment of cell division in the presence of the test substance. Furthermore, the importance of adequate design of protocols is highlighted and new developments, in particular the in vitro 3D human skin models, are discussed. Finally, we address future research perspectives including the possibility of a combined primary 3D human skin and primary human whole blood culture system, and the need for adaptation of the IVMN assays to assess the genotoxic potential of new materials, in particular nanomaterials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mutage/geq068DOI Listing
January 2011

The reconstructed skin micronucleus assay (RSMN) in EpiDerm™: detailed protocol and harmonized scoring atlas.

Mutat Res 2011 Feb 13;720(1-2):42-52. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Institute for In Vitro Sciences, Inc., Gaithersburg, MD, USA.

The European Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (COLIPA), along with contributions from the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), initiated a multi-lab international prevalidation project on the reconstructed skin micronucleus (RSMN) assay in EpiDerm™ for the assessment of the genotoxicity of dermally applied chemicals. The first step of this project was to standardize the protocol and transfer it to laboratories that had not performed the assay before. Here we describe in detail the protocol for the RSMN assay in EpiDerm™ and the harmonized guidelines for scoring, with an atlas of cell images. We also describe factors that can influence the performance of the assay. Use of these methods will help new laboratories to conduct the assay, thereby further increasing the database for this promising new in vitro genotoxicity test.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2010.12.001DOI Listing
February 2011

New and emerging technologies for genetic toxicity testing.

Environ Mol Mutagen 2011 Apr 25;52(3):205-23. Epub 2010 Aug 25.

GlaxoSmithKline R&D, Ware, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.

The International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) Project Committee on the Relevance and Follow-up of Positive Results in In Vitro Genetic Toxicity (IVGT) Testing established an Emerging Technologies and New Strategies Workgroup to review the current State of the Art in genetic toxicology testing. The aim of the workgroup was to identify promising technologies that will improve genotoxicity testing and assessment of in vivo hazard and risk, and that have the potential to help meet the objectives of the IVGT. As part of this initiative, HESI convened a workshop in Washington, DC in May 2008 to discuss mature, maturing, and emerging technologies in genetic toxicology. This article collates the abstracts of the New and Emerging Technologies Workshop together with some additional technologies subsequently considered by the workgroup. Each abstract (available in the online version of the article) includes a section addressed specifically to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with the respective technology. Importantly, an overview of the technologies and an indication of how their use might be aligned with the objectives of IVGT are presented. In particular, consideration was given with regard to follow-up testing of positive results in the standard IVGT tests (i.e., Salmonella Ames test, chromosome aberration assay, and mouse lymphoma assay) to add weight of evidence and/or provide mechanism of action for improved genetic toxicity risk assessments in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/em.20614DOI Listing
April 2011

International prevalidation studies of the EpiDerm 3D human reconstructed skin micronucleus (RSMN) assay: transferability and reproducibility.

Mutat Res 2010 Aug 1;701(2):123-31. Epub 2010 Jun 1.

Procter & Gamble, Miami Valley Laboratories, 11810 East Miami River Road, Cincinnati, OH 45253, USA.

Recently, a novel in vitro reconstructed skin micronucleus (RSMN) assay incorporating the EpiDerm 3D human skin model (Curren et al., Mutat. Res. 607 (2006) 192-204; Mun et al., Mutat. Res. 673 (2009) 92-99) has been shown to produce comparable data when utilized in three different laboratories in the United States (Hu et al., Mutat. Res. 673 (2009) 100-108). As part of a project sponsored by the European cosmetics companies trade association (COLIPA), with a contribution from the European Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), international prevalidation studies of the RSMN assay have been initiated. The assay was transferred and optimized in two laboratories in Europe, where dose-dependent, reproducibly positive results for mitomycin C and vinblastine sulfate were obtained. Further intra- and inter-laboratory reproducibility of the RSMN assay was established by testing three coded chemicals, N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea, cyclohexanone, and mitomycin C. All chemicals were correctly identified by all laboratories as either positive or negative. These results support the international inter-laboratory and inter-experimental reproducibility of the assay and reinforce the conclusion that the RSMN assay in the EpiDerm 3D human skin model is a valuable in vitro method for assessment of genotoxicity of dermally applied chemicals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2010.05.017DOI Listing
August 2010

A review of biomonitoring studies measuring genotoxicity in humans exposed to hair dyes.

Mutagenesis 2010 Jan 5;25(1):17-23. Epub 2009 Nov 5.

The Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, OH 45241, USA.

Hair dye ingredients frequently produce positive results in short-term in vitro genotoxicity tests, although results from in vivo assays are typically negative, especially for ingredients in use today. The use of hair dyes is quite widespread resulting in the exposure both for persons working in hairdressing salons and for individuals who have their hair dyed. This provides the opportunity to add to the data from standard in vitro and in vivo genotoxicity tests by investigating whether or not genotoxic responses are detected in such exposed individuals. A number of biomonitoring studies of humans exposed to hair dyes have been conducted using either cytogenetic alterations or DNA damage as measures of genotoxicity, or urine mutagenicity as a measure of exposure to genotoxic compounds. In this paper, each study is critically reviewed and interpreted. Overall, there is no consistent evidence of genotoxicity in humans exposed to hair dyes occupationally or through individual use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mutage/gep044DOI Listing
January 2010
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