Cytokinesis-block micronucleus method

Commonly used acronym: CBMN

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Animal derived cells / tissues / organs
Species from which cells/tissues/organs are derived
Type of cells/tissues/organs
Type II lung epithelial cells (RLE)


Method keywords
  • DNA damage
  • chromosomal lesions
  • lung epithelial cells
  • fluorescence microscope
Scientific area keywords
  • genotoxicity
  • mutagenicity
  • Toxicology
  • inhaled particles
Method description

The cytokinesis-block micronucleus method allows assessing the presence of DNA damage at the chromosome level. It is an essential part of toxicology, because mutation is a crucial event in carcinogenesis. The capacity of inhaled particles to induce irreversible mutations in type II lung epithelial cells is evaluated in this assay. By exposing type II lung epithelial cells to particles and blocking the cytokinesis, micronuclei can be scored in divided cells and are the reflection of mutations induced by particles.

Lab equipment

Fluorescence microscope

Method status
  • Validated by an external party (e.g. OECD, EURL ECVAM,…)

Pros, cons & Future potential

  • Great predictivity ;
  • Sensitivity ;
  • Precision ;
  • Simple.

Other cell lines can be used

References, associated documents and other information


Fenech, M., Cytokinesis-block micronucleus cytome assay. Nat Protoc, 2007. 2(5): p. 1084-104.

Fenech, M., The in vitro micronucleus technique. Mutat. Res, 2000. 455(1-2): p. 81-95.

Associated documents
OECD 487.pdf

Contact person

Violaine Sironval


Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)
The Louvain Centre for Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Brussels Region