We maintain this section to inform interested users about independent scientific studies conducted on MetaSystems products. We assume no responsibility or liability regarding the accuracy or correct use of the information or statements provided by external authors. The conclusions or statements expressed in the publications listed are those of the external authors or researchers. The publications may involve user-specific adaptations of MetaSystems products. They are not intended for diagnostic use. For publications covered by the Intended Purpose of Metafer or Ikaros, please refer to the respective instructions for use (IFU).

Filter by Keyword

Filter by Product/Solution

Mutagenesis, 26(1), 169–175
January, 2011

Automated scoring of lymphocyte micronuclei by the MetaSystems Metaferimage cytometry system and its application in studies of human mutagensensitivity and biodosimetry of genotoxin exposure.

Andrea Rossnerova, Milada Spatova, Christian Schunck, Radim J Sram

Automated image analysis scoring of micronuclei (MN) in cells can facilitate the objective and rapid measurement of genetic damage in mammalian and human cells. This approach was repeatedly developed and tested over the past two decades but none of the systems were sufficiently robust for routine analysis of MN until recently. New methodological, hardware and software developments have now allowed more advanced systems to become available. This mini-review presents the current stage of development and validation of the Metasystems Metafer MNScore system for automated image analysis scoring of MN in cytokinesis-blocked binucleated lymphocytes, which is the best-established method for studying MN formation in humans. The results and experience of users of this system from 2004 until today are reviewed in this paper. Significant achievements in the application of this method in research related to mutagen sensitivity phenotype in cancer risk, radiation biodosimetry and biomonitoring studies of air pollution (enriched by new data) are described. Advantages as well as limitations of automated image analysis in comparison with traditional visual analysis are discussed. The current increased use of the Metasystems Metafer MNScore system in various studies and the growing number of publications based on automated image analysis scoring of MN is promising for the ongoing and future application of this approach.

Mutagenesis, 26(1), 11–17
January, 2011

The micronucleus assay as a biological dosimeter of in vivo ionisingradiation exposure.

Anne Vral, Michael Fenech, Hubert Thierens

Biological dosimetry, based on the analysis of micronuclei (MN) in the cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) assay can be used as an alternative method for scoring dicentric chromosomes in the field of radiation protection. Biological dosimetry or Biodosimetry, is mainly performed, in addition to physical dosimetry, with the aim of individual dose assessment. Many studies have shown that the number of radiation-induced MN is strongly correlated with dose and quality of radiation. The CBMN assay has become, in the last years, a thoroughly validated and standardised technique to evaluate in vivo radiation exposure of occupational, medical and accidentally exposed individuals. Compared to the gold standard, the dicentric assay, the CBMN assay has the important advantage of allowing economical, easy and quick analysis. The main disadvantage of the CBMN assay is related to the variable micronucleus (MN) background frequency, by which only in vivo exposures in excess of 0.2-0.3 Gy X-rays can be detected. In the last years, several improvements have been achieved, with the ultimate goals (i) of further increasing the sensitivity of the CBMN assay for low-dose detection by combining the assay with a fluorescence in situ hybridisation centromere staining technique, (ii) of increasing the specificity of the test for radiation by scoring nucleoplasmic bridges in binucleated cells and (iii) of making the assay optimally suitable for rapid automated analysis of a large number of samples, viz. in case of a large-scale radiation accident. The development of a combined automated MN-centromere scoring procedure remains a challenge for the future, as it will allow systematic biomonitoring of radiation workers exposed to low-dose radiation.

Radiation Measurements, 46(2), 169 - 175

Micronucleus test for radiation biodosimetry in mass casualty events: Evaluation of visual and automated scoring

Claudia Bolognesi, Cristina Balia, Paola Roggieri, Francesco Cardinale, Paolo Bruzzi, Francesca Sorcinelli, Florigio Lista, Raffaele D'Amelio, Enzo Righi

<p>In the case of a large-scale nuclear or radiological incidents a reliable estimate of dose is an essential tool for providing timely assessment of radiation exposure and for making life-saving medical decisions. Cytogenetics is considered as the #gold##standard# for biodosimetry. The dicentric analysis (DA) represents the most specific cytogenetic bioassay. The micronucleus test (MN) applied in interphase in peripheral lymphocytes is an alternative and simpler approach. A dose-effect calibration curve for the MN frequency in peripheral lymphocytes from 27 adult donors was established after in vitro irradiation at a dose range 0.15-8 Gy of 137Cs gamma rays (dose rate 6 Gy min-1). Dose prediction by visual scoring in a dose-blinded study (0.15-4.0 Gy) revealed a high level of accuracy (R = 0.89). The scoring of MN is time consuming and requires adequate skills and expertise. Automated image analysis is a feasible approach allowing to reduce the time and to increase the accuracy of the dose estimation decreasing the variability due to subjective evaluation. A good correlation (R = 0.705) between visual and automated scoring with visual correction was observed over the dose range 0-2 Gy. Almost perfect discrimination power for exposure to 1-2 Gy, and a satisfactory power for 0.6 Gy were detected. This threshold level can be considered sufficient for identification of sub lethally exposed individuals by automated CBMN assay.</p>

Mutat Res
April, 2010

Cytosine arabinoside, vinblastine, 5-fluorouracil and 2-aminoanthracenetesting in the in vitro micronucleus assay with L5178Y mouse lymphomacells at Sanofi Aventis, with different cytotoxicity measurements,in support of the draft OECD Test Guidel

Olivier Cariou, Nathalie Laroche-Prigent, Sandrine Ledieu, Isabelle Guizon, Françoise Paillard, Véronique Thybaud

Cytosine arabinoside (a nucleoside analogue that inhibits the gap-filling step of excision repair), vinblastine (an aneugen that inhibits tubulin polymerisation), 5-fluorouracil (a nucleoside analogue with a steep response profile), and 2-aminoanthracene (a metabolism-dependent reference genotoxin) were tested in the in vitro micronucleus assay with L5178Y mouse lymphoma cells, without cytokinesis block. The four chemicals were independently evaluated in two Sanofi Aventis laboratories, one of which used an image analyser to score micronuclei, while the other scored micronucleated cells manually. Very similar results were obtained in the two laboratories, highlighting the robustness of the assay. The four test chemicals induced significant increases in the incidence of micronucleated cells at concentrations that produced no more than a 55+/-5\% reduction in survival growth, as measured with the three parameters recommended in the draft OECD Test Guideline on In Vitro Mammalian Cell Micronucleus Test (MNvit) for chemical testing, namely the relative increase in cell counts, relative population doubling, and the relative cell count. These results support the premise that the relative increase in cell counts and relative population doubling, that take into account both cell death and cytostasis, are appropriate measures of survival growth reduction in the in vitro micronucleus test conducted in the absence of cytokinesis block, as recommended in MNvit.

Int J Radiat Biol, 86(1), 2–11
January, 2010

Automated micronucleus (MN) scoring for population triage in caseof large scale radiation events.

Petra Willems, Liezel August, Jacobus Slabbert, Horst Romm, Ursula Oestreicher, Hubert Thierens, Anne Vral

PURPOSE: In case of a large-scale radiation accident when hundreds of people may be exposed, it is important to distinguish the severely exposed individuals (> or =1 gray), who require early medical treatment, from those less exposed. The aim of our study was to develop a quick population triage method based on automated micronucleus (MN) scoring. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Using the MN software module developed by MetaSystems specifically for the Metafer4 platform, about 60 blood samples can be scored in one day. Standard dose response curves were determined for manual and automated MN scoring. RESULTS: The automated MN assay results were closely correlated with MN yields obtained with the manual procedure. A dose of 1 Gy can be estimated with an uncertainty of 0.2 Gy. Corrections for false positives and false negatives by visual inspection of the image gallery did not result in an improved accuracy or reproducibility. To test the automated MN assay in a multicenter setting, an inter-laboratory comparison was performed whereby irradiated blood samples were processed in Ghent University (Belgium) and BfS (Bundesamt fuer Strahlenschutz; Germany). Both laboratories obtained comparable results. CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm the efficacy of the automated MN assay for fast population triage in a multicenter setting, in the case of large radiation accidents.

Digital object identifier (DOI): 10.3109/09553000903264481

Ann Ist Super Sanita, 45(3), 260-4

The micronucleus assay in radiation accidents

H Thierens, A Vral

The cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay in peripheral blood lymphocytes is a standardised and validated technique for biodosimetry. Automated scoring of micronuclei allows large scale applications as in population triage in case of radiation accidents or malevolent use of radioactive sources. The dose detection limit (95% confidence) of the micronucleus assay for individual dose assessment is restricted to 0.2 Gy but can be decreased to 0.1 Gy by scoring centromeres in micronuclei using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). In the past the micronucleus assay was applied for a number of large scale biomonitoring studies of nuclear power plant workers and hospital workers. Baseline micronucleus frequencies depend strongly on age and gender. The assay was also already used for biodosimetry of radiation accidents. In a multiple endpoint biodosimetry study for dose assessment of a worker exposed accidentally in 2003 to X-rays, a good agreement was obtained between dose estimates resulting from the micronucleus assay, the scoring of dicentrics and translocations. Automated scoring of micronuclei in combination with centromere signals, allowing systematic biodosimetry of exposed populations, remains a challenge for the future.

Mutation Research, 669(2), 42-47

The impact of air pollution on the levels of micronuclei measured by automated image analysis.

A. Rossnerova, M. Spatova, P. Rossner, I. Solansky, R.J. Sram

The measurement of micronuclei (MN) in human peripheral blood lymphocytes is frequently used in molecular epidemiology as one of the preferred methods for assessing chromosomal damage resulting from environmental mutagen exposure. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of exposure to carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (c-PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and smoking on the frequency of MN in a group of 56 city policemen living and working in Prague. The average age of the participants was 34+/-6 years. The study was conducted on the same subjects in February and May 2007. The concentrations of air pollutants were obtained from personal and stationary monitoring. A statistically significant decrease in the levels of pollutants was observed in May when compared with February, with the exception of toluene levels measured by stationary monitoring. The frequency of MN was determined by the automatic image scoring (MetaSystems Metafer 4, version 3.2.1) of DAPI-stained slides. The results of the image analysis indicated a significant difference in the frequency of MN (mean levels 7.32+/-3.42 and 4.67+/-2.92, for February and May, respectively). Our study suggests that automatic image analysis of MN is a highly sensitive method for evaluating the effect of c-PAHs and confirms that there are no differences between smokers and nonsmokers. These results demonstrate the ability of c-PAHs to increase MN frequency, even if the exposure to c-PAHs occurred up to 60 days before the collection of biological material. Our work is the first human biomonitoring study focused on the measurement of MN by automated image analysis for assessing chromosomal damage as a result of environmental mutagen exposure.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 17(8), 1902–1912
August, 2008

Multiplex genotyping as a biomarker for susceptibility to carcinogenicexposure in the FLEHS biomonitoring study.

Hans B Ketelslegers, Ralph W H Gottschalk, Gudrun Koppen, Greet Schoeters, Willy F Baeyens, van Larebeke, Nicolas A, van Delft, Joost H M, Jos C S Kleinjans

Cancer has been suggested to result from interactions between genetic and environmental factors, and certain subgroups in the general population may be at increased risk because of their relatively higher susceptibility to environmental carcinogens. The current study, part of a large biomonitoring study conducted in Flanders from 2002 to 2006 (The Flanders Environment and Health Survey), aims to determine these susceptible subpopulations based on multiple genotypic differences between individuals. A random selection of 429 adolescents and 361 adults was genotyped for 36 polymorphisms in 23 genes selected because of their known role in carcinogen metabolism, DNA repair, and oxidative stress. In both age groups, relationships between endogenous exposure to organochloride substances (polychlorinated biphenyl, hexachlorobenzene, dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethane), metals (cadmium, lead), and urinary metabolites (1-hydroxypyrene, trans-trans muconic acid) versus genotoxic effects (Comet assay and micronuclei in lymphocytes, and urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine) were investigated. In addition, in the study among adults, the relationship of these exposures with several tumor markers (prostate-specific antigen, carcinoembryonic antigen, and p53) was tested. The impact of the genotype on established exposure-effect relationships was evaluated. Eight exposure-effect relationships were found, including three novel associations, with an impact of various genotypes, predominantly affecting biotransformation and oxidative stress response. This study shows that at least part of the interindividual differences in relationships between carcinogen exposure and genotoxic effect can be explained by genotypic differences, enabling the identification of more susceptible subgroups for environmental cancer risks. This may be of relevance for environmental health policy setting.

Microscopy and Analysis, 21, 7- 9

Automated image analysis of micronuclei in binucleated human lymphocytes.

A. Maes, E. Den Hond, L. Verschaeve

The lymphocyte micronucleus test is the most standardized of all cellular biomarkers for genotoxic effects. Until recently, the analysis of micronuclei was done exclusively by visual microscopical inspection but recently great progress has been made in automation. In this article we compare micronucleus data obtained by 'classical' visual scoring with those obtained by automated scoring using an image analysis system with micronucleus software. The results show that the use of automation is perfectly reliable for this task, especially after conducting limited post-analysis corrections.

Cytogenet. Genome Res., 111, 41- 45

Radiosensitivity detected by the micronucleus test is not generally increased in sporadic prostate cancer patients.

D. Varga, I. Michel, B. Patino-Garcia, T. Paiss, W. Vogel, C. Maier

The micronucleus test (MNT) has shown increased micronuclei (MN) frequencies in BRCA associated and sporadic breast cancer patients, Ataxia telangiectasia and Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome patients, demonstrating a common cellular phenotype of increased radiosensitivity. Some genes, causative of these diseases, have also recently been associated with prostate cancer. In order to investigate if prostate cancer exhibits the cellular phenotype of increased radiosensitivity, we performed MNT analysis on 22 sporadic prostate cancer patients and 43 male controls. We determined the baseline MN frequency, in order to see in vivo chromosomal damage without radiation, and induced (after irradiation with 2 Gy) frequency of MN, both in binucleated cells (BNC) obtained from cultured peripheral blood lymphocytes. An automated image analysis system was used to score the MN employing two different classifiers (Classifier A and B) for detection of BNC. The mean baseline frequencies were 48/43 MN/1000 BNC (A/B) for the controls and 42/50 (A/B) for prostate cancer patients. The induced MN frequencies amounted to 107/111 MN/1000 BNC (A/B) for controls and 111/114 MN/1000 BNC (A/B) for prostate cancer patients. The obtained MN frequencies did not result in a statistically significant difference between unselected cases and controls. However, restricting the analysis to young patients (50-60 years, N = 7) and age-matched controls (N = 7) revealed marginally significant higher MN frequencies in patients. We conclude that increased radiosensitivity is not a property of prostate cancer patients in general.

Mutagenesis, 19, 391- 397

An automated scoring procedure for the micronucleus test by image analysis

D. Varga, T. Johannes, S. Jainta, S. Schuster, U. Schwarz-Boeger, M. Kiechle, B.P. Garcia, W. Vogel

The micronucleus assay (MNT) in human lymphocytes is frequently used to assess chromosomal damage as a consequence of environmental mutagen exposure, to assess the effect of mutagens or to search for reduced DNA repair capacity after a mutagenic challenge. We have established an automated scoring procedure for the cytokinesis blocked MNT based on computerized image analysis (Metasystems Metafer 4 version 2.12). To evaluate the results we used the reproducibility of counts, established a dose-response curve for gamma-irradiation and used the ability of the system to differentiate between breast cancer patients and controls as a biological reference, a difference which we had observed before by visual counting. Blood cultures were irradiated with gamma-rays (2 Gy) at the beginning and treated with cytochalasin B during the last 24 h. The slides were stained with Giemsa for visual counting and with DAPI for automated analysis. Our test sample consisted of 73 persons (27 with breast cancer and 26 female and 20 male controls). A comparison between visual counting (controls, mean MN frequency 313) and automated counting (mean MN frequency 106) in slides from the same culture revealed a large drop for the automated counts. However, the automated counts were as reproducible as the visual counts [coefficient of variation (CV) on the sample approximately 20%; CV on repeated counts of the same slides approximately 5%] and both counts were highly correlated. Furthermore, the discrimination between cases and controls improved for automated counting of slides from the same cultures [visual odds rato (OR) < or = 4.0, P = 0.009; automated OR > 16, P < 0.0001], with a strong dependence on the set of parameters used. This improvement was confirmed in a validation sample of an additional 21 controls and 20 cases (OR = 11, P = 0.0018) performed as a prospective or diagnostic test.

Cytogenet Genome Res, 104, 383- 389

New developments in automated cytogenetic imaging: unattended scoring of dicentric chromosomes, micronuclei, single cell electrophoresis, and fluorescence signals.

C. Schunck, T. Johannes, D. Varga, T. Lörch, A. Plesch

The quantification of DNA damage, both in vivo and in vitro, can be very time consuming, since large amounts of samples need to be scored. Additional uncertainties may arise due to the lack of documentation or by scoring biases. Image analysis automation is a possible strategy to cope with these difficulties and to generate a new quality of reproducibility. In this communication we collected some recent results obtained with the automated scanning platform Metafer, covering applications that are being used in radiation research, biological dosimetry, DNA repair research and environmental mutagenesis studies. We can show that the automated scoring for dicentric chromosomes, for micronuclei, and for Comet assay cells produce reliable and reproducible results, which prove the usability of automated scanning in the above mentioned research fields.