1067-4136/02/3306- $27.00 © 2002
Russian Journal of Ecology, Vol. 33, No. 6, 2002, pp. 413–416. Translated from Ekologiya, No. 6, 2002, pp. 438–441.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2002 by Butorina, Kalaev, Karpova.
The cytogenetic monitoring of anthropogenic envi-
ronmental pollution is an important component of the
integrated system of ecological monitoring. These stud-
ies at the cell and chromosome levels are a priority
because these structures are most vulnerable to the
mutagens discharged by industries and motor vehicles.
The effects of pollutants on the human genetic system
are especially hazardous. To obtain reliable data on the
adverse environmental effects on human health, people
themselves should be the objects of studies, which is
sometimes impracticable. Plants are now widely used
as bioindicators of environmental pollution (Pogosyan
, 1996; Micieta and Murin,
1997; Druskovic, 1997; Butorina
although the impossibility of extrapolating the resulting
estimations of environmental genotoxicity to man is a
Hence, we tested whether the frequency of micronu-
clei in the buccal epithelium of children correlated with
cytogenetic parameters (the mitotic rate and the fre-
quency of mitotic pathology) of the seed offspring of
weeping birch (
Roth.) in four districts
of the city of Voronezh differing in the level of anthro-
pogenic pollution. Micronuclei were chosen because
they are results of both structural and numerical chro-
mosome aberrations (Il’inskikh
results of this study allow us to estimate the prospects
of using woody plants for environmental pollution
assessment and the possibility of extrapolating these
results to man.
We used the micronucleus test in the buccal epithe-
lium of children because they are especially sensitive to
deleterious environmental factors (Maimulov
1998), and the buccal epithelium is a “mirror” reﬂect-
ing the state of the whole body (Gemonov, 1969). The
weeping birch is also a good bioindicator (Nikolae-
vskii, 1998; Vostrikova, 1999); in addition, this species
is widely used for landscaping in Voronezh. The afore-
mentioned cytogenetic parameters of seedlings can be
used for monitoring the mutagenic and clastogenic
effects of pollutants (Zoldos
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The studies were performed in the following dis-
tricts of Voronezh.
(1) Sovetskii raion (Yuzhno-Moravskaya street).
The main air pollutants are inorganic solid particles,
carbon oxide (CO), nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, and
(2) Leninskii raion (Kol’tsovskaya street). The main
air pollutants are carbon oxide, nitrogen oxides, and
(3) Levoberezhnyi raion (Yaroslavskaya, Novosibir-
skaya, and Savrasova streets). The main pollutants are
sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ash, and volatile
organic compounds (xylene, toluene, butadiene, ace-
tone, and gasoline).
(4) Kominternovskii raion (Truda and Moskovskii
avenues). The main pollutants are sulfur dioxide, nitro-
gen oxides, carbon oxide, and benzo[a]pyrene.
All data on air pollution in the districts of Voronezh
were taken from the publication by Mamchik
(1997). The last three districts are characterized by an
Cytogenetic Damage of Human Somatic Cells and Weeping Birch
Cells in Voronezh Districts with Different Levels
of Anthropogenic Pollution
A. K. Butorina, V. N. Kalaev, and S. S. Karpova
Voronezh State University, Universitetskaya pl. 1, Voronezh, 394693 Russia
Received January 16, 2001
—Cytogenetic parameters (the mitotic rate and the frequency of pathological mitoses) of the seed off-
spring of weeping birch (
Roth.) and the frequency of micronuclei in the buccal epithelium of
children living in several raions (districts) of the city of Voronezh differing in environmental conditions were
studied. Judging from these parameters, the environmental situation was the worst in the Sovetskii raion. A cor-
relation was found between the frequency of pathological mitoses in the roots of birch seedlings and the fre-
quency of micronuclei in the buccal epithelial cells of children. This indicates that the cytogenetic monitoring
data obtained in plants may be extrapolated to man.
: anthropogenic pollution, weeping birch, buccal epithelium, micronucleus test, mitotic rate, mitotic
pathology, cytogenetic monitoring.