Biochemical Society Transactions

Focused Meeting

Chromium(VI)-induced damage to the cytoskeleton and cell death in isolated hepatocytes

M. Gunaratnam, M. H. Grant

Abstract

Cr(VI) is a known human carcinogen. Although it has been investigated widely, the mechanism(s) of its action is/are not fully understood. The aim of this study was to evaluate Cr(VI)-induced damage to the cell cytoskeleton and the mode of cell death in primary cultures of hepatocytes. Exposure of the cultured cells (105/cm2) to 1 and 5 μM Cr(VI) for 24 h resulted in loss of the cell cytoskeleton, and this was accompanied by membrane blebbing and shrinking of the cell. Staining of the cells with annexin V and propidium iodide showed that Cr(VI) induces apoptosis at low concentrations (5 μM), whereas at higher concentrations (25 μ) it induces necrosis. This study shows that Cr(VI) causes damage to the cell cytoskeleton, and induces apoptosis at low concentrations. However, the importance of necrosis and apoptosis in vivo, and the effects of longer exposure times, which simulate environmental and occupational exposure to Cr(VI), remain to be investigated.

  • apoptosis
  • Cr(VI)
  • cultured hepatocytes