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Induced and Photoinduced DNA Damage by Quinolones: Ciprofloxacin, Ofloxacin and Nalidixic Acid Determined by Comet Assay


  • Posted on the website on 2 February 2005

*To whom correspondence should be addressed: Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Valparaíso, Gran Bretaña 1111, Valparaíso, Chile. Fax: 56-32-508111; e-mail:


Quinolones are degraded by light with loss of their antimicrobial activity, generating active species or radicals, Evidence exists that some fluoroquinolones (lomefloxacin, fleroxacin and enoxacin) induce damage to the cellular membrane and DNA cleavage by photosensitization. In this study, the genotoxic potential of the quinolones ofloxacin, nalidixic acid and ciprofloxacin (three antimicrobials frequently used in therapy) was evaluated upon irradiation with UV light by using the comet assay on cells of the Jurkat line. The results demonstrate that there are significant differences between the control groups (positive control with 50 μM H2O2, negative controls without drug and with and without irradiation) and the groups of irradiated quinolones (ofloxacin 2.76 × 10−5M, nalidixic acid 2.15 × 10−4M and ciprofloxacin 2.01 × 10−5M), indicating that, at the dose of irradiation employed (necessary to produce 50% photodegradation), the photodecomposition of the quinolones enhanced DNA damage. The unirradiated drugs also exhibited genotoxicity significantly different from that of the negative control.