Sunday, March 6, 2011

Investigations on the nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity of trivalent and hexavalent chromium compounds (2 of 8 on Chromium toxicity).

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1998 Sep;71 Suppl:S40-5.
Department of Occupational and Social Medicine, University of Tübingen, Germany.


In contrast to trivalent chromium (Cr(III)) compounds, hexavalent chromium ((Cr(VI)) compounds are oxidizing agents capable of directly inducing tissue damage and possessing carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic potency. After oral or dermal absorption of Cr(VI), the kidney is the main target organ for chromium accumulation, which might result in acute tubular necrosis in humans. In contrast, an acute toxic effect of Cr(VI) on the liver has not yet been described. Therefore, we used two established epithelial cell lines from the kidney (Opossum kidney cells) and the liver (Hep G2 cells) to design an in vitro-assay which is able to examine acute toxic effects of chromium compounds. Cells of both cell lines were treated with various concentrations of Cr(III) and Cr(VI) ranging from 0.01 micromol/l to 1 mmol/l for 24 h. Thereafter, cell morphology, organization of the intracellular cytoskeleton, number of viable cells and mean cell volume were examined. The results show that Cr(VI), but not Cr(III), has an acute cytotoxic effect and causes a dose-dependent loss in cell viability. The effective dose that caused 50% of cell death was 5 micromol/l for kidney epithelial cells and 50 micromol/l for liver epithelial cells. This means that kidney epithelial cells are 10 times more sensitive towards Cr(VI) treatment than liver epithelial cells and this might explain the known nephrotoxicity in vivo. The loss in cell viability was accompanied by a rounding and detachment of the cells and a marked reduction of intracellular F-actin-containing stress fibers. Microtubules and intermediate-sized filaments were observed to be unaffected. Only in the case of kidney epithelial cells, a dose-dependent cell volume increase was observed after Cr(VI) treatment at concentrations up to 50 micromol/l. At higher concentrations, the cell volume decreased due to the high number of cells undergoing lysis and the appearance of cellular fragments. Various chloride channel blockers with different specificities, molecular structures and inhibitory potentials were tested for their ability to prevent Cr(VI)-induced cell damage. None of the channel blockers was able to inhibit cell damage, suggesting that the uptake of Cr(VI) through the general anion transport system of the cell membrane might be only one facet of cellular uptake and toxification. The data presented here not only confirm the different organ-specific effects of Cr(III) and Cr(VI), but also provide a basis for future experiments on the understanding of acute toxicity of Cr(VI) compounds. Moreover, the results demonstrate that the designed in vitro-assay might be a useful tool to prove whether non-toxic Cr(III) can be oxidized to Cr(VI) under specific industrial conditions (for example, in the leather or chrome industry).

[Again, this research is all environmentally based vs prosthetic based. What I found interesting in this document is the question about wheather the non toxic Cr 3 can be oxidizexd to the toxic Cr 4. This question is a pretty interesting one.  No other research paper raised this issue.  Its important because I thought we were relatively safe in that the hip material is made of the non toxic trivlaent Cr....Connie] 

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