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Mixture Effects of Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes (BTEX) on Lung Carcinoma Cells via a Hanging Drop Air Exposure System

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journal contribution
posted on 16.06.2014, 00:00 by Faye F. Liu, Beate I. Escher, Stephen Were, Lesley Duffy, Jack C. Ng
A recently developed hanging drop air exposure system for toxicity studies of volatile chemicals was applied to evaluate the cell viability of lung carcinoma A549 cells after 1 and 24 h of exposure to benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) as individual compounds and as mixtures of four or six components. The cellular chemical concentrations causing 50% reduction of cell viability (EC50) were calculated using a mass balance model and came to 17, 12, 11, 9, 4, and 4 mmol/kg cell dry weight for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, m-xylene, o-xylene, and p-xylene, respectively, after 1 h of exposure. The EC50 decreased by a factor of 4 after 24 h of exposure. All mixture effects were best described by the mixture toxicity model of concentration addition, which is valid for chemicals with the same mode of action. Good agreement with the model predictions was found for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and m-xylene at four different representative fixed concentration ratios after 1 h of exposure, but lower agreement with mixture prediction was obtained after 24 h of exposure. A recreated car exhaust mixture, which involved the contribution of the more toxic p-xylene and o-xylene, yielded an acceptable, but lower quality, prediction as well.