Chromium occurs mostly in tri- and hexavalent states in the environment. Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] compounds are extensively used in diverse industries, and trivalent chromium [Cr(III)] salts are used as micronutrients and dietary supplements. In the present work, we report that they both induce genetic mutations in yeast cells. They both also cause DNA damage in both yeast and Jurkat cells and the effect of Cr(III) is greater than that of Cr(VI). We further show that Cr(III) and Cr(VI) cause DNA damage through different mechanisms. Cr(VI) intercalates DNA and Cr(III) interferes base pair stacking. Based on our results, we conclude that Cr(III) can directly cause genotoxicity in vivo.
Fang, Z., Zhao, M., Zhen, H., Chen, L., Shi, P., & Huang, Z. (2014). Genotoxicity of tri- and hexavalent chromium compounds in vivo and their modes of action on DNA damage in vitro. PLoS ONE, 9(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0103194