Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 301, Issue 7, pp 539–547

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

  • Mirella Falconi
  • Gabriella Teti
  • Michela Zago
  • Angela Galanzi
  • Lorenzo Breschi
  • Susi Pelotti
  • Alessandra Ruggeri
  • Giovanni Mazzotti
Original Paper


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.


Human fibroblasts In vitro testing Tattoo pigment Tattoo toxicity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirella Falconi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gabriella Teti
    • 1
  • Michela Zago
    • 1
    • 2
  • Angela Galanzi
    • 1
  • Lorenzo Breschi
    • 3
    • 4
  • Susi Pelotti
    • 5
  • Alessandra Ruggeri
    • 1
  • Giovanni Mazzotti
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomical SciencesUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Polo Scientifico-Didattico di RiminiUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly
  3. 3.Unit of Dental Sciences and Biomaterials, Department of BiomedicineUniversity of TriesteTriesteItaly
  4. 4.Unit of Bologna c/o IORIGM-CNRBolognaItaly
  5. 5.Section of Legal Medicine, Department of Medicine and Public HealthUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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