Original Paper

Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 301, Issue 7, pp 539-547

First online:

Influence of a commercial tattoo ink on protein production in human fibroblasts

  • Mirella FalconiAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomical Sciences, University of BolognaPolo Scientifico-Didattico di Rimini, University of Bologna Email author 
  • , Gabriella TetiAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomical Sciences, University of Bologna
  • , Michela ZagoAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomical Sciences, University of BolognaPolo Scientifico-Didattico di Rimini, University of Bologna
  • , Angela GalanziAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomical Sciences, University of Bologna
  • , Lorenzo BreschiAffiliated withUnit of Dental Sciences and Biomaterials, Department of Biomedicine, University of TriesteUnit of Bologna c/o IOR, IGM-CNR
  • , Susi PelottiAffiliated withSection of Legal Medicine, Department of Medicine and Public Health, University of Bologna
  • , Alessandra RuggeriAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomical Sciences, University of Bologna
  • , Giovanni MazzottiAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomical Sciences, University of Bologna

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Abstract

Tattooing is an ancient art and is still widely practiced all over the world. Since the biocompatibility of tattoo dyes has not been well researched, we studied the toxicity of a commercial tattoo ink, commonly used in tattoo lab and esthetic centers, on human fibroblasts. To test cell viability, MTT assays were carried out and scanning electron microscopy to visualize changes in the cell surface after the dye exposure was performed. A possible influence of the pigment on the expression of procollagen α1 type I protein was visualized by western blotting analysis. The results showed a reduction in cell viability, and electron microscopy demonstrated an unmodified cell surface completely covered by pigment particles. Western blotting analysis demonstrated a clear interference of the pigment on the expression of procollagen α1 type I protein. These data demonstrated that the commercial tattoo dye has a time-dependent effect on protein expression. A possible connection of the influence of the tattoo ink with clinical effects is discussed.

Keywords

Human fibroblasts In vitro testing Tattoo pigment Tattoo toxicity