A method for in vitro analysis of the biological activity of complex mixtures such as sidestream cigarette smoke
Studies of the cytotoxicity of air contaminants such as gaseous or particulate compounds and complex mixtures have traditionally used in animal experiments because of the difficulties in exposing cell cultures directly to these substances. New cultivation and exposure techniques enhance the efficiency of in vitro methods, as demonstrated by a new system called CULTEX which uses a transwell membrane technique for direct exposure of complex mixtures like sidestream cigarette smoke at the air/liquid interface. The factors influencing the susceptibility of human bronchial epithelial cells (e. g. gas flow rate or duration of exposure) were studied and the cells were finally exposed for one hour to clean air or different concentrations of sidestream smoke. The biological parameters estimated were number of cells, metabolic activity and glutathione concentration. After exposure of the cells to sidestream cigarette smoke, dose-dependent effects were measured. Thus, the introduction of these cultivation and exposure techniques offers new testing strategies for the toxicological evaluation of a broad range of airborne and inhalable compounds.