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Biol Trace Elem Res. 2006 Apr;110(1):61-72.

Depleted uranium is not toxic to rat brain endothelial (RBE4) cells.

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  • 1Department of Life Sciences, Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.


Studies on Gulf War veterans with depleted uranium (DU) fragments embedded in their soft tissues have led to suggestions of possible DUinduced neurotoxicity. We investigated DU uptake into cultured rat brain endothelial cells (RBE4). Following the determination that DU readily enters RBE4 cells, cytotoxic effects were analyzed using assays for cell volume increase, heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) expression, 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol- 2-yl]-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) reduction, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity. The results of these studies show that uptake of the U3O8 uranyl chloride form of DU into RBE4 cells is efficient, but there are little or no resulting cytotoxic effects on these cells as detected by common biomarkers. Thus, the present experimental paradigm is rather reassuring and provides no indication for overt cytotoxicity in endothelial cells exposed to DU.

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