Effects of defined mixtures of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) on multiple cellular responses in the human hepatocarcinoma cell line, HepG2, using high content analysis screening

Jodie Wilson, Hanne Friis Berntsen, Karin Elisabeth Zimmer, Caroline Frizzell, Steven Verhaegen, Erik Ropstad, Lisa Connolly

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23 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are toxic substances, highly resistant to environmental degradation, which can bio-accumulate and have long-range atmospheric transport potential. Most studies focus on single compound effects, however as humans are exposed to several POPs simultaneously, investigating exposure effects of real life POP mixtures on human health is necessary. A defined mixture of POPs was used, where the compound concentration reflected its contribution to the levels seen in Scandinavian human serum (total mix). Several sub mixtures representing different classes of POP were also constructed. The perfluorinated (PFC) mixture contained six perfluorinated compounds, brominated (Br) mixture contained seven brominated compounds, chlorinated (Cl) mixture contained polychlorinated biphenyls and also p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene, hexachlorobenzene, three chlordanes, three hexachlorocyclohexanes and dieldrin. Human hepatocarcinoma (HepG2) cells were used for 2h and 48h exposures to the seven mixtures and analysis on a CellInsight™ NXT High Content Screening platform. Multiple cytotoxic endpoints were investigated: cell number, nuclear intensity and area, mitochondrial mass and membrane potential (MMP) and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Both the Br and Cl mixtures induced ROS production but did not lead to apoptosis. The PFC mixture induced the ROS production and likely induced cell apoptosis accompanied by the dissipation of MMP. Synergistic effects were evident for ROS induction when cells were exposed to the PFC+Br mixture. No significant effects were detected in the Br+Cl, PFC+Cl or total mixtures, which contain the same concentrations of chlorinated compounds as the Cl mixture plus additional compounds; highlighting the need for further exploration of POP mixtures in risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Volume294
Early online date07 Jan 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2016

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