Toxicology and applied pharmacology

Cytotoxicity, apoptosis, and in vitro DNA damage induced by potassium chromate.

PMID 10558925


Cr(6+) is a known human cytotoxic and carcinogenic agent that requires intracellular reduction for activation. We have analyzed the cytotoxic and DNA binding properties of K(2)CrO(4) (Cr(6+)) in comparison with those of Cl(3)Cr (Cr(3+)). The results indicate that K(2)CrO(4) exhibits higher cytotoxicity than Cl(3)Cr in several human and murine cell lines. The cytotoxic activity of K(2)CrO(4) is also indicated by the fact that is able to produce cell killing through apoptosis in cisplatin-resistant cells transformed by H-ras oncogene. Moreover, in vitro DNA binding experiments show that, in the presence of ascorbate (the major intracellular reductant of Cr(6+)), K(2)CrO(4) induces both interstrand cross-links and strand breaks. Because the chromate anion is by itself unreactive toward DNA, these data suggest that the cytotoxicity of K(2)CrO(4) may be associated with the DNA binding of reactive intermediate chromium species resulting from reduction of Cr(6+).