Differential in vitro cellular response induced by exposure to synthetic vitreous fibers (SVFs) and asbestos crocidolite fibers

Giorgia Cardinali, Daniela Kovacs, Vittoria Maresca, Enrica Flori, Maria Lucia Dell'Anna, Antonella Campopiano, Stefano Casciardi, Giuseppe Spagnoli, Maria Rosaria Torrisi, Mauro Picardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we analyzed the effects of synthetic vitreous fibers (SVFs) on a mesothelial (MeT5A) and a fibroblast cell line (NIH3T3), compared to those exerted by crocidolite asbestos fibers. SVFs (glass wool, rock wools) do not induce significant changes in cell mortality, whereas crocidolite asbestos fibers caused a dose-dependent cytotoxicity. We investigated the correlation between the fiber-induced cytotoxicity and the extent and type of interaction of the fibers with the cell surface, and we observed that SVFs, unlike crocidolite asbestos fibers, establish few and weak interactions. Moreover, after internalization, crocidolite asbestos fibers are often found free in the cytoplasm, whereas glass wool fibers are mainly localized inside cytoplasmic vacuoles. After treatments, we also detected signs of oxidative stress, revealed by an increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and by an induction of superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. The lipoperoxidative damage was characterized by a decrease in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), an increase in the content of thiobarbituric reactive species (TBARS) and a consumption of vitamin E, as a lipophilic antioxidant. Furthermore, we investigated the effect of fiber exposure on cell proliferation. and it was found that, unlike crocidolite asbestos fibers, SVFs did not induce a significant increase in DNA synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-41
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006


  • Cell viability
  • Crocidolite asbestos fibers
  • Oxidative stress
  • Proliferation
  • SVFs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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