The control of DNA integrity in mammalian cells is important to maintain the cell homeostasis and prevent neoplastic transformation. Control of cell division and cell death permits repair or elimination of damaged cells. Since asbestos fibers can produce DNA damage, chromosome alterations and apoptosis in several sorts of cells, including mesothelial cells, it was interesting to investigate cell cycle disturbances in rat pleural mesothelial cells (RPMC) treated with asbestos fibers. Cell cycle analyses were performed in RPMC exposed to crocidolite (10 and 20 �g/cm 2) and chrysotile (5 and 10 �g/cm 2) for different times (4 to 48 h). Both fiber types entailed a G2/M accumulation in agreement with a delay in the mitosis course. Chrysotile fibers produced a G0/G1 accumulation associated with a time-dependent p53 and p21 expression. Crocidolite exposure resulted in a delay in the G1/S transition paralleling a low rate of p53 expression. These results are in agreement with a DNA damaging potential of asbestos fibers since similar results were found following RPMC exposure to � rays. In asbestos-treated RPMC, a low rate of apoptosis was found suggesting that RPMC may follow a DNA repair pathway that could contribute to the formation of DNA lesions. In addition, the cell cycle disturbances at the G2/M checkpoint suggest that genetically altered cells have progressed through the cycle and support the already published findings on the ability of asbestos fibers to impair cell division. Levresse, V., A. Renier, J. Fleury-Feith, F. Levy, S. Moritz, C
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