Journal Article

Long crocidolite asbestos fibers cause polyploidy by sterically blocking cytokinesis

Cynthia G. Jensen, Lawrence C.W. Jensen, Conly L. Rieder, Richard W. Cole and Jeffrey G. Ault

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 17, issue 9, pages 2013-2021
Published in print September 1996 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online September 1996 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/17.9.2013
Long crocidolite asbestos fibers cause polyploidy by sterically
                    blocking cytokinesis

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Asbestos has been described as a physical carcinogen in that its carcinogenic effects appear to be related primarily to fiber dimensions. It has been hypothesized that long asbestos fibers may interfere with chromosome distribution during cell division, causing genomic changes that lead to cell transformation and neoplastic progression. Using high-resolution time-lapse light microscopy and serial-section electron microscopy, we have followed individual crocidolite asbestos fibers through the later stages of cell division in LLC-MK2 epithelial cells, and have detailed for the first time their effect on cytokinesis. We found that long fibers (15-55 μm), trapped by the cleavage furrow, sterically blocked cytokinesis, sometimes resulting in the formation of a binucleated cell. The ends of blocking fibers were usually found within invaginations of the newly formed nuclei. Nuclear envelope-fiber attachment was evident when a chromatin strand ran with the fiber into the intercellular bridge. Such strands may break, causing chromosome structural rearrangements. Our data are the first to show that individual crocidolite fibers can cause genomic changes by sterically blocking cytokinesis and that fiber length and affinity for the nuclear envelope are important factors. Such genomic changes may be among the initial events leading to asbestos-induced cancers.

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Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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