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

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125 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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