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J Biochem Mol Toxicol. 2017 Aug;31(8). doi: 10.1002/jbt.21918. Epub 2017 May 16.

Analysis of cytotoxic effects of chlorhexidine gluconate as antiseptic agent on human blood lymphocytes.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Ardabil University of Medical Science, Ardabil, Iran.
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


The aim of this study was to assess the cytotoxicity of chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) on human blood lymphocytes as a useful ex vivo model for accelerated human toxicity studies. Using biochemical and flow cytometry assessments, we demonstrated that addition of CHG at 1 μM concentration to human blood lymphocytes induced cytotoxicity following 6 h. The CHG-induced cytotoxicity on human blood lymphocytes was associated with intracellular reactive oxygen species generation, mitochondrial membrane potential collapse, lysosomal membrane injury, lipid peroxidation, and depletion of glutathione. According to our results, CHG triggers oxidative stress and organelles damages in lymphocytes which are important cells in defense against foreign agents. Finally our findings suggest that using of antioxidants and mitochondrial/lysosomal protective agents could be of benefit for the people in the exposure with CHG.


chlorhexidine; cytotoxicity; lymphocyte; mitochondrial damage; oxidative stress

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