An enormous quantity of pharmacologically active principles are currently being introduced into the environment, with consequent escalation of environmental problems, but only a small number of studies are focusing on an assessment of their genotoxic effects. The aim of this article is to assess the genotoxic effects of erythromycin, lincomycin, and of a combination of these two antibiotics on the genome of the zebrafish. The genotoxicity of the two antibiotics was assessed by applying the micronucleus test to erythrocytes and performing a Comet assay on erythrocytes and hepatocytes. The fish were exposed to antibiotics at different concentrations and times of exposure, under standard laboratory conditions. Depending on the different experimental conditions, erythromycin and lincomycin induced a significant increase in DNA migration (tail moment) and a significant increase in micronuleus frequency. We also conducted an analysis on the activation of repair mechanisms when the genotoxic agent was removed. Only a few of the cells displayed a decrease in damage under these test conditions. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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