Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 80, Issue 8, pp 465–472 | Cite as

Cytotoxicity of dental composite (co)monomers and the amalgam component Hg2+ in human gingival fibroblasts

  • Franz-Xaver Reichl
  • Sabine Simon
  • Magalie Esters
  • Mario Seiss
  • Kai Kehe
  • Norbert Kleinsasser
  • Reinhard Hickel
Inorganic Compounds


Unpolymerized resin (co)monomers or mercury (Hg) can be released from restorative dental materials (e.g. composites and amalgam). They can diffuse into the tooth pulp or the gingiva. They can also reach the gingiva and organs by the circulating blood after the uptake from swallowed saliva. The cytotoxicity of dental composite components hydroxyethylmethacrylate (HEMA), triethyleneglycoldimethacrylate (TEGDMA), urethanedimethacrylate (UDMA), and bisglycidylmethacrylate (Bis-GMA) as well as the amalgam component Hg2+ (as HgCl2) and methyl mercury chloride (MeHgCl) was investigated on human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs) at two time intervals. To test the cytotoxicity of substances, the bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) assay and the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assay were used. The test substances were added in various concentrations and cells were incubated for 24 or 48 h. The EC50 values were obtained as half-maximum-effect concentrations from fitted curves. Following EC50 values were found [BrdU: mean (mmol/l); SEM in parentheses; n=12]: (24 h/48 h) HEMA 8.860 (0.440)/6.600(0.630), TEGDMA 1.810(0.130)/1.220(0.130), UDMA 0.120(0.010)/0.140(0.010), BisGMA 0.060(0.004)/0.040(0.002), HgCl2 0.015(0.001)/0.050(0.006), and MeHgCl 0.004(0.001)/0.005(0.001). Following EC50 values were found [LDH: mean (mmol/l); SEM in parentheses; n=12]: (24 h/48 h) HEMA 9.490(0.300)/7.890(1.230), TEGDMA 2.300(0.470)/1.950(0.310), UDMA 0.200(0.007)/0.100(0.007), BisGMA 0.070(0.005)/0.100(0.002), and MeHgCl 0.014(0.006)/0.010(0.003). In both assays, the following range of increased toxicity was found for composite components (24 and 48 h): HEMA < TEGDMA < UDMA < BisGMA. In both assays, MeHgCl was the most toxic substance. In the BrdU assay, Hg2+ was about fourfold less toxic than MeHgCl but Hg2+ was about fourfold more toxic than BisGMA. In the BrdU test, a significantly (P<0.05) decreased toxicity was observed for Hg2+ at 48 h, compared to the 24 h Hg2+-exposure. A time depending decreased toxicity was observed only for Hg2+ which can then reach the toxic level of BisGMA.


Cytotoxicity Lactate dehydrogenase assay Bromodeoxyuridine assay Comonomers Amalgam Gingival cells 



The authors would like to acknowledge the technical assistance of Sabine Domes and Stefan Schulz.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franz-Xaver Reichl
    • 1
  • Sabine Simon
    • 1
  • Magalie Esters
    • 1
  • Mario Seiss
    • 1
  • Kai Kehe
    • 2
  • Norbert Kleinsasser
    • 3
  • Reinhard Hickel
    • 4
  1. 1.Walther-Straub-Institute of Pharmacology and ToxicologyLudwig-Maximilians-University of MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Bundeswehr Institute of Pharmacology and ToxicologyMunichGermany
  3. 3.Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  4. 4.Department of Operative Dentistry and PeriodontologyLudwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunichGermany

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