An Evaluation of the In Vitro Cytotoxicities of 50 Chemicals by using an Electrical Current Exclusion Method versus the Neutral Red Uptake and MTT Assays
Toni Lindl, Birgit Lewandowski, Sonya Schreyögg and Andrea Stäudte
According to the 2001 National Institutes of Health guidance document on using in vitro data to estimate in vivo starting doses for acute toxicity, the performance of the electrical current exclusion method (ECE) was studied for its suitability as an in vitro cytotoxicity test. In a comparative study, two established in vitro assays based on the quantification of metabolic processes necessary for cell proliferation or organelle integrity (the MTT/WST-8 [WST-8] assay and the neutral red uptake [NRU] assay), and two cytoplasm membrane integrity assays (the trypan blue exclusion [TB] and ECE methods), were performed. IC50 values were evaluated for 50 chemicals ranging from low to high toxicity, 46 of which are listed in Halle’s Registry of Cytotoxicity (RC). A high correlation was found between the IC50 values obtained in this study and the IC50 data published in the RC. The assay sensitivity was highest for the ECE method, and decreased from the WST-8 assay to the NRU assay to the TB assay. The consistent results of the ECE method are based on technical standardisation, high counting rate, and the ability to combine cell viability and cell volume analysis for detection of the first signs of cell necrosis and damage of the cytoplasmic membrane caused by cytotoxic agents.
Robert A. Smith
During the last 40 years, studies incorporating in vitro methodologies have greatly advanced our understanding of human nerve cell biology. Attempts have been made to apply these to investigations of neurotoxicity. Due to the complexity of the nervous system, underpinned by an array of integrated interactions between a host of cell types, it is concluded that, at present, alternative neural models are most successful in determining the underlying mechanisms which can cause perturbation of normal functioning of the nervous system, both in adults and during the embryonic period. The use of tiered batteries of test models has been proposed in screening programmes for neurotoxicity, with the generation of much encouraging data in laboratories across the globe. This review aims to discuss the development of neural alternatives, considers the various model systems available, and highlights specific neuronal endpoints which can be tested, in addition to the cytotoxic evaluation of neuronal viability. Developments in molecular and stem cell biology, which are appropriate to neural tissue, and which offer the prospect of exciting advances for the next decade, are cited.