Alterations of cell lipids by metal salts

George S. Schuster, Gretchen B Caughman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Metallic medical devices undergo degradation in vivo and the degradation products affect the chemistry and biological responses of cells and tissues in the immediate vicinity. The responses vary with the metal and cell type. In the current study, we examined the effects of several metals on a human monocytic cell line. Monocytes are important effector cells capable of responding rapidly to inflammatory and immune stimuli in a variety of ways, including production of inflammatory proteins, differential expression of surface adhesion molecules, enhanced phagocytic activity, and activation and differentiation to macrophages. Cells were exposed in the presence of 14C-acetate to titanium, nickel, chromium, copper, or cobalt or vanadium at concentrations that were subinhibitory or inhibitory based on cellular mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity. Cell lipids were then extracted, separated by thin layer chromatography, and quantitated by liquid scintillation spectrometry. Total cell protein also was measured. Titanium reduced cell protein content at concentrations that were noninhibitory to mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity, whereas neither chromium nor cobalt affected protein amounts at dehydrogenase-inhibitory concentrations. In cells exposed to vanadium, the protein- and dehydrogenase-inhibitory concentrations were similar. The major effects on cell lipids appeared to occur in the neutral lipids, although chromium, cobalt, and titanium produced changes in some major phospholipids. These results suggest that metals differentially affect various metabolic pathways in THP-1 cells, perhaps related to their abilities to enter the cells or interact with the membrane. These alterations to the cells may affect the cells′ abilities to respond to various stimuli that can damage the tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-353
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2004


  • Cell lipids
  • Enzymes
  • Metal salts
  • Protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


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