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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2011, Article ID 796719, 7 pages
Research Article

Cytotoxicity of Environmentally Relevant Concentrations of Aluminum in Murine Thymocytes and Lymphocytes

1School of Public Health, University at Albany, Rensselaer, NY 12144, USA
2Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany, Rensselaer, NY 12144, USA

Received 2 March 2011; Accepted 3 May 2011

Academic Editor: Dietrich Büsselberg

Copyright © 2011 Jamal Kamalov et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The effects of low concentrations of aluminum chloride on thymocytes and lymphocytes acutely dissociated from young mice were studied using flow cytometry with a DNA-binding dye. We demonstrate a rapid and dose-dependent injury in murine thymocytes and lymphocytes resulting from exposure to aluminum, as indicated by an increase in the entry into the cell of the DNA-binding dye, propidium iodine. A 60-minute exposure to 10 μM AlCl3 caused damage of about 5% of thymocytes, while 50% were injured after 10 minutes at 20 μM. Nearly all thymocytes showed evidence of damage at 30 μM AlCl3 after only 5 minutes of incubation. In lymphocytes, injury was observed at 15 μM AlCl3 and less than 50% of cells were injured after a 60-minute exposure to 20 μM. Injury only rarely proceeded to rapid cell death and was associated with cell swelling. These results suggest that aluminum has cytotoxic effects on cells of the immune system.