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ROS-mediated genotoxicity of asbestos-cement in mammalian lung cells in vitro

Elke Dopp1, Santosh Yadav2, Furquan Ahmad Ansari2, Kunal Bhattacharya12, Ursula von Recklinghausen1, Ursula Rauen3, Klaus Rödelsperger4, Behnaz Shokouhi1, Stefan Geh1 and Qamar Rahman2*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Hygiene and Occupational Medicine, University Hospital Essen, Germany

2 Fibre Toxicology Division, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Lucknow, India

3 Institute of Physiological Chemistry, University Hospital Essen, Germany

4 Institute of Occupational Medicine, University Hospital Giessen, Germany

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Particle and Fibre Toxicology 2005, 2:9  doi:10.1186/1743-8977-2-9

Published: 6 October 2005


Asbestos is a known carcinogen and co-carcinogen. It is a persisting risk in our daily life due to its use in building material as asbestos-cement powder. The present study done on V79-cells (Chinese hamster lung cells) demonstrates the cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of asbestos-cement powder (ACP) in comparison with chrysotile asbestos. A co-exposure of chrysotile and ACP was tested using the cell viability test and the micronucleus assay. The kinetochore analysis had been used to analyse the pathway causing such genotoxic effects. Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances were determined as evidence for the production of reactive oxygen species. Both, asbestos cement as well as chrysotile formed micronuclei and induced loss of cell viability in a concentration- and time- dependent way. Results of TBARS analysis and iron chelator experiments showed induction of free radicals in ACP- and chrysotile exposed cultures. CaSO4 appeared to be a negligible entity in enhancing the toxic potential of ACP. The co-exposure of both, ACP and chrysotile, showed an additive effect in enhancing the toxicity. The overall study suggests that asbestos-cement is cytotoxic as well as genotoxic in vitro. In comparison to chrysotile the magnitude of the toxicity was less, but co-exposure increased the toxicity of both.

asbestos cement; chrysotile; cytotoxicity; micronuclei; kinetochore; free radicals