Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Toxicology & pharmacology : CBP

Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of hexavalent chromium in human and North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) lung cells.

PMID 19632355


Humans and cetaceans are exposed to a wide range of contaminants. In this study, we compared the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of a metal pollutant, hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)], which has been shown to cause damage in lung cells from both humans and North Atlantic right whales. Our results show that Cr induces increased cell death and chromosome damage in lung cells from both species with increasing intracellular Cr ion levels. Soluble Cr(VI) induced less of a cytotoxic and genotoxic effect based on administered dose in right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) cells than in human (Homo sapiens) cells. Whereas, particulate Cr(VI) induced a similar cytotoxic effect but less of a genotoxic effect based on administered dose in right whale cells than in human cells. Differences in chromium ion uptake explained soluble chromate-induced cell death but not all of the soluble chromate-induced chromosome damage. Uptake differences of lead ions could explain the differences in particulate chromate-induced toxicity. The data show that both forms of Cr(VI) are less genotoxic to right whale than human lung cells, and that soluble Cr(VI) induces a similar cytotoxic effect in both right whale and human cells, while particulate Cr(VI) is more cytotoxic to right whale lung cells.