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Mutat Res. 2012 Jun 14;745(1-2):21-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2011.10.007. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Influence of serum on in situ proliferation and genotoxicity in A549 human lung cells exposed to nanomaterials.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cell Genetics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium. sacorrad@vub.ac.be


In this work in situ proliferation of A549 human lung epithelial carcinoma cells exposed to nanomaterials (NMs) was investigated in the presence or absence of 10% serum. NMs were selected based on chemical composition, size, charge and shape (Lys-SiO(2), TiO(2), ZnO, and multi walled carbon nanotubes, MWCNTs). Cells were treated with NMs and 4h later, cytochalasin-B was added. 36 h later, cell morphology was analyzed under a light microscope. Nuclearity was scored to determine the cytokinesis-block proliferation index (CBPI). CBPI, based on percentage of mono-, bi- and multi-nucleated cells, reflects cell toxicity and cell cycle delay. For some conditions depending on NM type (TiO(2) and MWCNT) and serum concentration (0%) scoring of CBPI was impossible due to overload of agglomerated NMs. Moreover, where heavy agglomeration occurs, micronuclei (MN) detection and scoring under microscope was prevented. A statistically significant decrease of CBPI was found for ZnO NM suspended in medium in the absence or presence of 10% serum at 25 μg/ml and 50 μg/ml, respectively and for Lys-SiO(2) NM at 3.5 μg/ml in 0% serum. Increase in MN frequency was observed in cells treated in 10% serum with 50 μg/ml ZnO. In 0% serum, the concentrations tested led to high toxicity. No genotoxic effects were induced by Lys-SiO(2) both in the absence or presence of serum up to 5 μg/ml. No toxicity was detected for TiO(2) and MWCNTs in both 10% and 0% serum, up to the dose of 250 μg/ml. Restoration of CBPI comparable to untreated control was shown for cells cultured without serum and treated with 5 μg/ml of Lys-SiO(2) NM pre-incubated in 100% serum. This observation confirms the protective effect of serum on Lys-SiO(2) NM cell toxicity. In conclusion in situ CBPI is proposed as a simple preliminary assay to assess both NMs induced cell toxicity and feasibility of MN scoring under microscope.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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