Applying the comet assay to fresh vs frozen animal solid tissues: A technical approach
The in vivo comet assay is usually performed in fresh tissues by processing cells immediately after collection, an approach that is not always possible from a logistical point of view. Although the comet assay has been applied to frozen rodent tissue samples on several occasions, there is currently no agreement on the best way to freeze and thaw them. We have tested two different thawing procedures and compared the levels of DNA strand breaks (SBs) and Fpg-sensitive sites in fresh and frozen (for up to year) liver, kidney and lung tissue samples, from untreated and methyl methanosulfonate treated rats. Tissues were snap frozen, stored at - 80 degrees C and processed in such a way that the tissue remained frozen until the cells were in suspension. Our results showed that comparable levels of DNA SBs were detected in fresh and frozen liver and lung samples stored at - 80 degrees C for up to 1 year and 3 months, respectively. In kidney, similar levels of SBs were detected either in fresh or in frozen tissues stored for up to 1 year. However, more studies are needed to control the variability observed in the Fpg-sensitive site levels in this tissue at the different freezing periods.