In vitro cytotoxicity testing of three zinc metal salts using established fish cell lines

S. Ní Shúilleabháin, C. Mothersill, D. Sheehan, N. M. O'Brien, J. O' Halloran, F. N.A.M. Van Pelt, M. Davoren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The utilisation of fish cell lines has proven to be a valuable, rapid and cost-effective tool in the ecotoxicological assessment of chemicals and environmental samples. The main objective of this study was to investigate the value of multiple endpoint measurements in evaluating the cytotoxicity of three divalent zinc salts in three established fish cell lines (EPC, CHSE and RTG-2) and the potential for their employment as effective screening tools for zinc contaminated environmental samples. A significant stimulatory effect was detected with the neutral red assay in EPC and RTG-2 cells exposed to the lower doses of some zinc compounds. Significant (p≤0.01) lactate dehydrogenase release was detectable only with the highest exposure concentration of ZnCl 2. Toxicity ranking based on IC50 values calculated from the neutral red and coomassie blue assay data found that in general, ZnCl 2 was the most cytotoxic metal compound to the cell lines employed. Differential cell sensitivities were observed to be dependant on the particular compound tested and the endpoint employed. It was found that the use of light microscopy in the identification of cell morphological changes was a valuable adjunct in verifying the results of colorimetric tests. In conclusion, careful consideration should be given to study design and statistics applied and use of a battery style approach is recommended for toxicological screening studies.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)365-376
Number of pages12
JournalToxicology in Vitro
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Cytotoxicity
  • Fish cell lines
  • Highest tolerated dose
  • Hormesis
  • In vitro
  • Zinc salts


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