Toxicity of industrially relevant chlorinated organic solvents in vitro

Catherine McDermott*, James J A Heffron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The cytotoxic effects of 4 industrially important chlorinated organic solvents, dichloromethane (DCM), 1,2-dichloroethane (DCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), and tetrachloroethylene (PERC) in vitro, were investigated. Jurkat T cells were exposed to the solvents individually for 72 hours and changes in reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, cell proliferation, intracellular free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]), and caspase-3 activity were measured. There was a concentration-dependent increase in the ROS formation and intracellular free [Ca2+] following exposure to each of the solvents. This was accompanied by a decrease in the cell proliferation. Solvent potency decreased in the following order: PERC > TCE > DCM > DCE. Caspase-3 activity was increased in a concentration-dependent manner by TCE and PERC but was not significantly altered by DCM or DCE. n-Acetyl-l-cysteine pretreatment showed that changes in the intracellular free [Ca2+] and caspase-3 activity were independent of ROS formation. However, increased ROS formation did play a causal role in the decreased cell proliferation observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-145
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Toxicology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


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