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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Indirect Cytotoxicity of Dental Materials: A Study with Transwell Inserts and the Neutral Red Uptake Assay


Harvey Babich and Mayer C. Sinensky

A modification of the Transwell insert methodology was evaluated by using the neutral red uptake (NRU) assay in a cytotoxicity test. The Transwell insert methodology was developed to assess the biocompatibility of solid materials used in dentistry and, when initially designed, used the release of radiochromium (51Cr) in the cytotoxicity assay. Another aim of this study was to evaluate different exposure regimes with which to assess cytotoxicity. The exposure regimes included: a 1-hour exposure in buffer followed by a 24-hour incubation in growth medium; a 2-hour exposure in buffer followed by a 24-hour incubation in growth medium; a 24-hour exposure in serum-limited medium; and a 24-hour exposure in a serum-sufficient medium. The bioindicator target was the Smulow-Glickman (S-G) human gingival cell line and the biomaterials were dental restoratives. The Transwell insert methodology with the NRU cytotoxicity assay as the cytotoxicity endpoint was effective in differentiating the potencies of the dental restoratives; a 2-hour exposure in buffer and a 24-hour exposure in serum-limited medium were the exposure regimes that most clearly differentiated the test agents according to their potencies. The sequence of cytotoxicity of the dental restoratives to the S-G cells was Vitremer > Ketac-Molar Aplicap > Flow-It.