Increased calcium influx in a monocytic cell line on exposure to ultrafine carbon black

V. Stone*, M. Tuinman, J. E. Vamvakopoulos, J. Shaw, D. Brown, S. Petterson, S. P. Faux, P. Borm, W. MacNee, F. Michaelangeli, K. Donaldson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)


Ultrafine particles have been shown to induce pro-inflammatory effects both in vivo and in vitro. Increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes probably requires the activation of specific transcription factors such as nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) via a number of possible pathways including Ca2+ and reactive oxygen species. The fluorescent dye fura 2, was used to measure cytosolic Ca2+ in the human monocytic cell line, Monomac 6 on exposure to 66 μg·mL-1 of either ultrafine carbon black (ufCB; diameter 14 nm), carbon black (CB; diameter 260 nm), quartz (diameter 1.45 μm), or medium alone. UfCB but not fine CB induced a 1.6-fold increase (p<0.01) in the resting cytosolic Ca2+ concentration of Monomac 6 cells. In addition ufCB induced a 2.6-fold increase (p<0.001) in the response to the endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+- adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) inhibitor, thapsigargin, suggesting the Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ current across the plasma membrane was enhanced. This response was inhibited by the removal of extracellular Ca2+ and by the Ca2+ channel blocker, verapamil. In addition, ufCB stimulated the entry of extracellular Mn2+. Finally, the antioxidants mannitol and nacystelin both inhibited the effects of ufCB on the response to thapsigargin. These data suggest that ultrafine carbon black particles stimulated an increase in cytosolic Ca2+, possibly through the entry of extracellular Ca2+ via Ca2+ channels in the plasma membrane. The particles may in part activate the opening of Ca2+ channels via a mechanism involving reactive oxygen species. (C) ERS Journals Ltd. 2000.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-303
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Calcium
  • Ultra fine carbon black

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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