Salmonella typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100 were used to assess the mutagenic potential of the aerosol from a commercially available, rechargeable, closed system electronic-cigarette. Results obtained were compared to those for the mainstream smoke from a Kentucky reference (3R4F) cigarette. Two different test matrices were assessed. Aerosol generated from the e-cigarette was trapped on a Cambridge filter pad, eluted in DMSO and compared to cigarette smoke total particulate matter (TPM), which was generated in the same manner for mutagenicity assessment in the Salmonella assay. Fresh e-cigarette and cigarette smoke aerosols were generated on the Vitrocell® VC 10 smoking robot and compared using a modified scaled-down 35 mm air agar interface (AAI) methodology. E-cigarette aerosol collected matter (ACM) was found to be non-mutagenic in the 85 mm plate incorporation Ames assay in strains TA98 and TA100 conducted in accordance with OECD 471, when tested up to 2400 μg/plate. Freshly generated e-cigarette aerosol was also found to be negative in both strains after an AAI aerosol exposure, when tested up to a 1 L/min dilution for up to 3 h. Positive control responses were observed in both strains, using benzo[a]pyrene, 2-nitrofluorene, sodium azide and 2-aminoanthracene in TA98 and TA100 in the presence and absence of metabolic activation respectively. In contrast, cigarette smoke TPM and aerosol from 3R4F reference cigarettes were found to be mutagenic in both tester strains, under comparable test conditions to that of e-cigarette exposure. Limited information exists on the mutagenic activity of captured e-cigarette particulates and whole aerosol AAI approaches. With the lower toxicant burden of e-cigarette aerosols compared to cigarette smoke, it is clear that a more comprehensive Ames package of data should be generated when assessing e-cigarettes, consisting of the standard OECD-five, TA98, TA100, TA1535, TA1537 (or TA97) and E. coli (or TA102). In addition, TA104 which is more sensitive to the carbonyl based compounds found in e-cigarette aerosols under dry-wicking conditions may also prove a useful addition in a testing battery. Regulatory standard product testing approaches as used in this study will become important when determining whether e-cigarette aerosols are in fact less biologically active than cigarette smoke, as this study suggests. Future studies should be supported by in vitro dosimetry approaches to draw more accurate comparisons between cigarette smoke, e-cigarette aerosol exposure and human use.
Thorne, D., Crooks, I., Hollings, M., Seymour, A., Meredith, C., & Gaca, M. (2016). The mutagenic assessment of an electronic-cigarette and reference cigarette smoke using the Ames assay in strains TA98 and TA100. Mutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, 812, 29–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2016.10.005