, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 35–40 | Cite as

Effect of cocaine and crack on the ploidy status of Tetrahymena pyriformis: a study using DNA image analysis

  • Maria E. StefanidouEmail author
  • Vasiliki I. Hatzi
  • Georgia I. Terzoudi
  • Ariadni C. Loutsidou
  • Constantinos P. Maravelias
Original Research


The effect of cocaine and crack on the ploidy status of Feulgen-stained Tetrahymena pyriformis macronuclei using computerized DNA image analysis system was tested. For this purpose, selected doses of 5, 10 and 20 μg (per mL culture) of both drugs were administered for 2, 5 and 20 h to protozoa cultures and DNA image analysis of T. pyriformis nuclei was performed. The analysis was based on the measurement of the following parameters: Ploidy Balance (PB), Degree of Aneuploidy (DA), skewness and kurtosis. The results have shown a positive effect of both cocaine and crack on PB and on DA of T. pyriformis macronuclei. In particular, our results reveal that the aneugenic effect (which is expressed as a decrease in PB and an increase in DA) of cocaine on T. pyriformis macronuclei follows a dose-dependent manner, while crack induces aneuploidy in a dose-independent manner. Changes in the PB and DA values would induce a disturbance in the cellular density and heterogeneity of chromatin and the increase in skewness and kurtosis values after exposure of T. pyriformis to both drugs, did confirm this hypothesis. These observations were further correlated with alterations in the chromosomal segregation and with damage in mitotic spindle microtubules observed previously. In this study the impact of cocaine and crack on genomic instability and carcinogenesis was further supported and T. pyriformis can be proposed as a model organism to test the nuclear ploidy status after exposure to harmful chemicals and drugs.


Tetrahymena pyriformis Cocaine Crack DNA image analysis Ploidy balance Aneuploidy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria E. Stefanidou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vasiliki I. Hatzi
    • 2
  • Georgia I. Terzoudi
    • 3
  • Ariadni C. Loutsidou
    • 1
  • Constantinos P. Maravelias
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Medical SchoolUniversity of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Institute of Nuclear Technology & Radiation ProtectionNational Centre for Scientific Research, NCSR “Demokritos”AthensGreece
  3. 3.Institute of Radioisotopes & Radiodiagnostic ProductsNational Centre for Scientific Research, NCSR “Demokritos”AthensGreece

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