Possible interactions between hydroquinone (HQ) and phenol (PHE), 2 known benzene metabolites, in inducing micronuclei in mouse bone marrow cells were investigated. HQ and PHE administered alone gave weak and negative results, respectively, at the doses tested. However, simultaneous administration of both compounds caused a considerable increase in the induction of micronuclei as well as an increase in bone marrow toxicity. Using 3 different statistical methods, it was shown that the observed joint effect was significantly higher than additive interaction, and was close to multiplicative interaction. These findings bring further support to the hypothesis that the toxic and genotoxic effects of benzene are produced by several metabolites acting synergistically. © 1990.
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