ABSTRACT: Chromium picolinate (CrPic) is a synthetic nutritional supplement primarily used for weight loss and muscle building. Recent studies have indicated that CrPic might be genotoxic and these findings together with the wide-spread consumer use, have increased the concern about its safety. In the present study we investigated the potential genotoxicity of CrPic in mice given a single intraperitoneal injection (up to 3 mg/kgb.wt.) by evaluating the frequency of micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes (fMNPCE) in peripheral blood, and DNA damage in lymphocytes and hepatocytes. The fMNPCE was evaluated after 42 h and DNA damage after 16 h. Using the Comet assay DNA damage was also monitored in extended-term cultures of human lymphocytes and in L5178Y mouse lymphoma cells that had been exposed for 3h to 500 microM CrPic under different exposure conditions. A slight, but significant CrPic-induced increase in DNA damage (P<0.001) was observed in the human lymphocytes, but only when these cells were exposed in the absence of serum. In all other experiments CrPic was found to be without genotoxic effects, both in vivo and in vitro. Taken together, our results suggest that a high concentration of CrPic might be DNA damaging, but only under non-physiological conditions.
Food and Chemical Toxicology 07/2007; 45(7):1097-106. · 3.00 Impact Factor