Development of an in vitro Method to Determine Nickel Toxicity and Carcinogenicity
Nickel is a widely used metal in industrial and commercial applications, being both workable and highly resistant to corrosion. Certain nickel compounds are known human carcinogens, but not all nickel compounds are equally hazardous. A robust method of assessing the carcinogenic potential of various nickel compounds is needed in order to determine safe occupational exposure levels. This work attempts to develop an in vitro mammalian cell culture method for assessing the carcinogenic and toxic potential of nickel compounds by metabolic and cell cycle analysis. Two cell lines, C3H/10T1/2 and MRC-5, were used. Measurements of extracellular metabolites by enzymatic methods and HPLC were combined with cell counts and cell cycle and apoptosis analysis by flow cytometry. This work shows that nickel sulphate can elicit a metabolic response similar to that of organic carcinogens, though the underlying mechanisms are likely different.