Hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) compounds are known human lung carcinogens. Solubility plays an important role in its carcinogenicity with the particulate or insoluble form being the most potent. Of the particulate Cr(VI) compounds, zinc chromate appears to be the most potent carcinogen; however, very few studies have investigated its carcinogenic mechanism. In this study, we investigated the ability of chronic exposure to zinc chromate to induce numerical chromosome instability. We found no increase in aneuploidy after a 24 h exposure to zinc chromate, but with more chronic exposures, zinc chromate induced concentration- and time-dependent increases in aneuploidy in the form of hypodiploidy, hyperdiploidy, and tetraploidy. Zinc chromate also induced centrosome amplification in a concentrationand time-dependent manner in both interphase and mitotic cells after chronic exposure, producing cells with centriolar defects. Furthermore, chronic exposure to zinc chromate induced concentration- and timedependent increases in spindle assembly checkpoint bypass with increases in centromere spreading, premature centromere division, and premature anaphase. Last, we found that chronic exposure to zinc chromate induced a G2 arrest. All together, these data indicate that zinc chromate can induce chromosome instability after prolonged exposures.
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