, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 30-36

Cytometric determination of novel organotellurium compound toxicity in a promyelocytic (HL-60) cell line

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The increasing use of tellurium compounds in organic synthesis, industrial applications, and as a possible component in pesticides means that its introduction into the environment will increase in the future. Therefore, knowledge of the relative toxicity and mode of toxic action of tellurium-containing compounds is important. The studies detailed here used three model compounds: diphenyl ditelluride, 3,3′-diaminodiphenyl ditelluride, and 4,4′-diisopropyldiphenyl ditelluride. Experiments with human promyelocytic (line HL-60) cells indicate that all of the organotellurium compounds induce an apoptotic form of cell death. The induction of apoptosis occurs in a time- and dose-dependent manner as assayed by three different analytical methods: fluorescence microscopy, gel electrophoresis, and flow cytometry. Apoptotic cells were evident as early as 2 h following treatment with 1×10–6 M concentrations of the compounds. Based on these results, future care should be afforded these compounds in laboratory as well as industrial settings.