The measurement of micronuclei (MN) in human peripheral blood lymphocytes is a frequently used method to assess chromosomal damage. The development and validation of the MetaSystems Metafer MNScore system for automated image analysis of MN in cytokinesis-blocked binucleated cells (BNC) offer alternative approaches beside traditional visual analysis. The application of this method was successful in research related to mutagen sensitivity phenotype in cancer risk, radiation biodosimetry and biomonitoring studies of air pollution. In biomonitoring studies, the results from a set of 885 subjects investigated by automated image analysis of MN were published between 2009 and 2011 by our laboratory. This dataset includes the subjects ranging from newborns to adults aged 65 years, as well as males and females and smokers and non-smokers. In these studies we analyzed 1,000-6,500 BNC per subjects in DAPI stained slides. The results for the effects of age, gender and smoking obtained from this set are very similar to the data obtained by visual scoring in The International Collaborative Project on Micronucleus Frequency in Human Populations. We can recommend the automated image analysis of MN using the Metafer Score system as a reliable tool for the assessment of chromosomal damage, which allows the analysis of large numbers of binucleated cells, with the additional advantage of limited subjectivity and a lack of scoring bias, and which are so critical for visual scoring.


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  • Received: 07 May 2012
  • Accepted: 07 May 2012
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