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Tissue Cell. 2008 Dec;40(6):397-404. doi: 10.1016/j.tice.2008.04.001. Epub 2008 Jun 3.

Halothane-induced alterations in cellular structure and proliferation of A549 cells.

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Department of Cytology, Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Biology, Sofia University, 1164 Sofia, Bulgaria.


Genotoxicity, cytotoxicity or teratogenicity are among the well-known detrimental effects of the volatile anaesthetics. The aim of the present work was to study the structural changes, proliferative activity and the possibility of alveolar A549 cells to recover after in vitro exposure to halothane at 1.5 and 2.1mM concentrations. Our data indicated significant reduction of viability, suppression of mitotic activity more than 60%, and that these alterations were accompanied by disturbances of nuclear and nucleolar structures. The most prominent negative effect was the destruction of the lamellar bodies, the main storage organelles of pulmonary surfactant, substantial for the lung physiology. In conclusion, halothane applied at clinically relevant concentrations exerts genotoxic and cytotoxic effect on the alveolar cells in vitro, most likely as a consequence of stress-induced apoptosis, thus modulating the respiratory function.

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