Metronidazole (MTZ) is used for the treatment of many infectious diseases, including vaginal infections. While data indicate that MTZ is mutagenic and induces micronuclei in rodents, there is no information on the genotoxicity of MTZ in epithelial vaginal cells or cervical cells. In the present study, we have instilled MTZ into the vagina of rats and evaluated the micronucleus (MN) frequency in proestrus rat vaginal mucosal cells. The first identified proestrus before treatment was used to establish basal proestrus micronucleated cell (PMNC) frequencies. Rats then were assigned to one of five groups: a negative control, three MTZ treatment groups (30, 50, or 100 mg/kg MTZ), and a positive control treated with 2.5 mg of 5-fluorouracil (5-Fu) per rat. Following treatment for five consecutive days, vaginal cell samples were taken daily until three cycles of estrus were completed. Smears prepared from the samples were evaluated for micronuclei in proestrus cells. No differences were found between the PMNC frequencies of the negative control and the 30 and 50 mg/kg MTZ groups. The group treated with 100 mg/kg MTZ, however, had significantly elevated PMNC frequencies in the first and second proestrus samples, while 5-Fu treatment produced significant increases in PMNC frequency in the second and third proestrus. These results indicate that topical administration of relatively high concentrations of MTZ is genotoxic in rat vaginal mucosa cells.
- Vaginal cells