Ochratoxin A reduces aflatoxin B1 induced DNA damage detected by the comet assay in Hep G2 cells
Mycotoxins aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and ochratoxin A (OTA) can be present together in food commodities. These food contaminants are considered to be genotoxins, acting by different mechanisms. The aim of this work was to characterize combined genotoxic in vitro effects of both mycotoxins in Hep G2 cells. For this purpose, cytotoxicity was first determined in isolated and combined treatments in order to determine the dose range of genotoxicity studies. Co-exposure of cells to OTA + AFB1 for 24 h resulted in additive effects. Genotoxicity was determined in Hep G2 cells by the modified comet assay with restriction enzymes (endo ill and FPG). Significant reactive oxygen species formation was detected in both single and combined treatments. AFB1 was genotoxic after 3 h with external metabolic activation (S9 mix) and after 24 h without metabolic activation. Co-exposure to OTA significantly decreased DNA damage induced by AFB1, not only in breaks and apurinic sites but also in FPG-sensitive sites. The apparent contradiction between additive cytotoxic effects and antagonic genotoxic effects may be explained if AFB1 and OTA compete for the same CYPs, yielding more ROS but less AFB1 adducts.