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Toxicol Lett. 1997 May 16;91(3):189-96.

Sodium lauryl sulfate and triclosan: in vitro cytotoxicity studies with gingival cells.

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Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University, Department of Biology, New York, NY 10016, USA.


Triclosan and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) are antimicrobial agents used, both singularly and in combination, in dentifrices and mouth-rinses. Studies by Waaler et al. (Scand. J. Dent. Res. 101 (1993) 192-195) with human volunteers showed that the adverse side-effects induced by SLS in mouth-rinses, i.e. desquamation of oral epithelium and a burning sensation, were lessened by the addition of triclosan. However, Baert et al. (Int. J. Exp. Pathol. 77 (1996) 73-78) showed that triclosan did not protect the hamster cheek pouch mucosa from irritation caused by SLS. The studies presented herein further evaluated, using a cell culture system, the triclosan-SLS interaction. The in vitro cytotoxicities of triclosan and SLS, alone and in combination, were determined with human gingival S-G epithelial cells and GF fibroblasts. The 24-h midpoint (NR50) cytotoxicity values towards the S-G cells were 0.052 mM triclosan and 0.0075% SLS and for the GF fibroblasts the respective values were 0.095 mM triclosan and 0.0127% SLS. Both agents at their NR50 values induced vacuolization. Coexposures of triclosan and SLS were additive in their cytotoxicities towards the S-G epithelial cells and GF fibroblasts. Pretreatment with triclosan potentiated the toxicity of a subsequent exposure of SLS to the S-G cells; a similar pretreatment of the GF fibroblasts with triclosan had no effect on a subsequent challenge with SLS.

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