Antimony trichloride induces DNA damage and apoptosis in mammalian cells.

PMID 9772090


Antimony compounds are widely used in various manufacturing and semiconducting industries. Previously, it has been shown that antimony trichloride (SbCl3) elevates sister chromatid exchange (SCE) rates in V79 cells after a 28-h incubation. However, only limited data on its genotoxic effects are available so far. The present results demonstrate that a 4-h exposure to > 50 microM SbCl3 could induce micronuclei (MN) formation in cultured Chinese hamster ovary (CHO-K1) cells, human bronchial epithelial (BES-6) cells and human fibroblasts (HF). The order of sensitivity to SbCl3 determined by Sulforhodamine B (SRB)-staining survival assay is HF > BES-6 cells > CHO-K1 cells, with LD50 values in these cells being approximately 40, 80 and 180 microM, respectively. Apoptosis and DNA fragmentation was not found in cells immediately following 4-h SbCl3 treatment. However, DNA fragmentation was detected in CHO-K1 cells after 4-h SbCl3 treatment and a 16 h or more post incubation in fresh medium by 1.5% agarose gel electrophoresis. The delayed apoptosis was also observed under microscopic examination in HF, BES-6 and CHO-K1 cells after similar treatment protocol. In addition, an increase in calcium accumulation appeared in CHO-K1 cells and HF immediately after a 4-h SbCl3 treatment, or after a 24-h post incubation in fresh medium. The present results provide important genotoxic and cytotoxic information characterizing the cellular changes induced by short-term SbCl3 exposure in rodent and human cells.