Butachlor is a widely used herbicide in Asia and South America. Previous investigations have indicated that it is a suspected carcinogen. To understand more about the biological effects of butachlor on cultured cells and the mechanism(s) of its carcinogenicity, we studied the alteration of the growth characteristics that was induced by butachlor in normal mouse liver cells (BNL CL2). This study demonstrates that butachlor decreases the population-doubling time of BNL CL2 cells, suggesting that it stimulates cell proliferation. To support this finding, a thymidine incorporation assay was conducted and a similar result that butachlor stimulates cell proliferation was elucidated. In addition, we show that butachlor increases the saturation density of the BNL CL2 cells. When combined with the tumor initiator N-methyl-N‘-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG), butachlor transforms cells efficiently, as demonstrated by loss of contact inhibition. These findings indicate that butachlor alters the growth characteristics of BNL CL2 cells and suggest that butachlor may induce malignant transformation through stimulation of cell proliferation, alteration of cell cycle regulation, and suppression of cell density-dependent inhibition of proliferation.
Chemical Research in Toxicology 13(12), pp.1321-1325