Arsenic toxicity in the human nerve cell line SK-N-SH in the presence of chromium and copper

Ligang Hu, Justin B. Greer, Helena Solo-Gabriele, Lynne A. Fieber, Yong Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


As, Cr, and Cu represent one potential combination of multiple metals/metalloids exposures since these three elements are simultaneously leached from chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood, a common product used for building construction, at levels that can be potentially harmful. This study investigated the neurotoxicity of As associated with CCA-treated wood when accompanied by Cr and Cu. The toxicity was evaluated on the basis of a cytotoxicity model using human neuroblastoma cell line SK-N-SH. The cells were cultured with CCA-treated wood leachates or with solutions containing arsenate [As(V)], divalent copper [Cu(II)], trivalent chromium [Cr(III)] alone or in different combinations of the three elements. The toxicity was evaluated using variations in cell replication compared to controls after 96. h exposure. Among the three elements present in wood leachates, As played the primary role in the observed toxic effects, which were exerted through multiple pathways, including the generation of oxidative stress. DOM affected the absorption of metals/metalloids into the test cells, which however did not obviously appear to impact toxicity. As toxicity was enhanced by Cu(II) and inhibited by Cr(III) at concentrations below U.S. EPA's allowable maximum contaminant levels in drinking waters. Thus assessing As toxicity in real environments is not sufficient if based solely on the result from As.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1082-1087
Number of pages6
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Arsenic
  • Chromium
  • Combined toxic effect
  • Copper
  • Neurotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)


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