Furan carcinogenicity: DNA binding and genotoxicity of furan in rats in vivo

Carolin Neuwirth, Pasquale Mosesso, Gaetano Pepe, Mario Fiore, Mike Malfatti, Ken W Turteltaub, Wolfgang Dekant, Angela Mally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Scope: Furan is a potent hepatotoxicant and liver carcinogen in rodents. However, short-term tests for genotoxicity of furan are inconclusive. The aim of this study was to assess the potential of furan to covalently bind to DNA, and to assess furan genotoxicity in rats in vivo. Materials and methods: Accelerator mass spectrometry was used to determine the 14C-content in DNA following administration of [3,4-14C]-furan (0.1 and 2.0 mg/kg bw) to F344 rats. DNA damage, micronuclei, chromosomal aberrations, and sister chromatid exchanges were analyzed in F344 rats treated with furan for up to 28 days. Conclusion: The 14C-content in liver DNA was significantly increased in a dose-dependent manner, with mean concentrations of 7.9 ± 3.5 amol 14C/μg DNA and 153.3 ± 100.2 amol 14C/μg DNA, corresponding to 16.5 ± 7.4 and 325.2 ± 212.7 adducts/109 nucleotides at 0.1 and 2.0 mg/kg bw, respectively. There was no evidence for genotoxicity of furan in peripheral blood and bone marrow cells. However, a dose-related increase in the incidence of chromosomal aberrations in rat splenocytes and some indication of DNA damage in liver were observed. Collectively, results from this study indicate that furan may operate-at least in part-by a genotoxic mode of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1363-1374
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Carcinogenicity
  • DNA adducts
  • Furan
  • Genotoxicity
  • Liver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology


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