2015 Volume 40 Issue 3 Pages 365-373
Toxic and harmful factors co-exist in the environment; these factors often interact to induce combined toxicity, which is the main focus of toxicological research. Furthermore, a large number of studies have shown that aluminum (Al) and benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) are neurotoxic and target the central nervous system to cause neuronal apoptosis. Because we are exposed to both Al and BaP in the air, water, food, and even medicine, the combined effects of these agents in humans must be examined. The present study examines the ability of Al and BaP co-exposure to intensify neuronal apoptosis. The primary neurons of newborn rats were cultured for 5 days, and cells from the same batch that were growing well were selected and assigned to the blank control group, the solvent control group (DMSO+S9+maltol), BaP groups (10, 40 μmol/L), Al (mal)3 groups (50, 100, 400 μmol/L) and co-exposure groups with different combinations of BaP and Al (mal)3. The cell viabilities indicated that 10 μM BaP or 50 μM Al (mal)3 was mildly toxic, and we selected 10 μM BaP+50 μM Al (mal)3 for subsequent co-exposure experiments. The morphological characteristics of cell apoptosis were much more obvious in the co-exposure group than in the Al-exposed cells or the BaP-exposed cells, as observed with a transmission electron microscope and a fluorescence inverted microscope. The apoptotic rates and caspase-3 activity quantitatively significantly differed between the co-exposure and Al-exposure groups, while the BaP-exposure group did not significantly differ from the control group. These results indicate that Al and BaP co-exposure exert synergistic effects on neuronal cell apoptosis.